Game 9 of 12 – Navy vs. Central Michigan
Well, the Chippewas are better than the last team we previewed (FAU) on the Navy schedule, but they are not better by all that much. For Navy to make a bowl game this year this is a road game they are going to need to win, but it cannot justifiably be as important as the games against bigger schools or the other service academies. Thus it slots nicely in at number eight on this list.
Navy's Keys to Winning
The best way for Navy to beat the Chippewas is to take advantage of the same weaknesses that CMU showed a year ago. Though the Central Michigan secondary is good, their front seven is less impressive. Navy should be able to have one of those games where they are running downhill all day, taking advantage of both scheme and power to rumble though the Chips. Navy will also be looking to have a big third down conversion percentage as the Chippewas opponents were able to convert on 45% of third down chances in 2011. Sometimes the keys to a game are just that simple.
How Navy Could Lose
The Chippewas will hope that consistence up front will be enough to turn around a program which has had consecutive 3-9 seasons since Dan LeFevour graduated. LeFevour left CMU as the all time touchdown leader in college football history and his legacy has proved to be a tough one to follow. Central Michigan switched from the spread to a more pro style offense and the school has been seriously hampered by injuries and a lack of playmakers the last couple of years.
Their best chance to beat Navy will be to hope that QB Ryan Radcliff plays more like he did in conference games last year than the rest of his career combined. Radcliff tossed just six picks in eight MAC contests, while throwing ten in the other four games. If he can stay away from the bad decisions that have plagued his career then CMU may have the players around him to cause Navy problems.
What Will Happen
Navy will head in to Michigan and come away with a victory. Radcliff has shown nothing against non-MAC teams to prove he can dominate games and the Chippewas front seven does not have the talent or depth to cope with Navy's formidable rushing attack.
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