Rule Number One
Right now, stop what you are doing, and go tell (or email) your spouse, family, significant others that you are sorry for your behavior over the next four months. After eight months of: very little stress; free Saturdays; ample family time; going to bed happy; hardly any scoreboard watching; and never once uttering the phrase, “Can’t we stop them on third down?”, the tide is about to turn blue and gold which means it’s Navy football season. And that means all other touchy feely relationships must go on hold. Don’t worry though January is right around the corner…there will be time to repair the damage.
Rule Number Two
Take it easy on Mr. Ricky Dobbs. There are going to be growing pains this season – his first as the anointed starting signal caller for the Midshipmen – and after that first, second, or (gulp) third turnover, there will be remote controls thrown across the nation in disgust. Mr. Dobbs has come to Annapolis, but just like the folks in D.C. who are expecting a perfect health-care plan, we Navy fans need to cut the junior quarterback some slack. I expect with every three to four dazzling plays by Dobbs will come a hiccup where he runs the wrong way, makes the wrong read, or commits the ultimate sin…a turnover.
Rule Number Three
Be very aware that your twin brothers (Army and Air Force) are very hungry and poised to mess up Navy’s season. Army may not have all the players in place to run their new, shiny offense anywhere near perfection, but it will give their service academy rivals fits at times this season. And considering the last fit that Army’s offense has been responsible for was in 1996, that’s saying something. In the last five years, if the Cadets committed a costly turnover in a service academy game – they have been pretty reliable in that department – the game was pretty much lost. That won’t be the case this season. They will be in most of their games, if not all of them, and now they have a game-day strategist equal to Navy and Air Force’s head coaches. Meanwhile, the Falcons aren’t going away anytime soon. They will make their traditional October visit to Annapolis and get all Navy fans blood-pressure rising. Be sure to have your defibrillator handy for both service academy games this season.
Rule Number Four
It has taken me awhile to come to this conclusion, but it is important to convince yourself right now that the final score of the Ohio State game really does not matter in the grand scheme of things this year. This game is all about money. Navy is not going to Columbus to ease their new offensive playmakers into a new season (see Towson in 2008). There is a big pay day to be had for the USNA coffers and in this economic environment you really can’t blame anyone for cashing in on the seven-figure plus money grab. So whether the Mids lose by 21 or 45, as long as they come away from the game relatively healthy, everything can still be o.k. Neither the team nor its loyal fans should lose confidence if things go as the experts predict this weekend.
Rule Number Five
If Navy beats Ohio State, go (expletive) nuts…kiss a stranger…tell your mother-in-law you are sorry for whatever you did to make her stop talking to you…buy your kids a new pet…just get crazy.
Rule Number Six
Nate Frazier is gone and the sooner you stop looking for number 99 to be causing havoc on opposing offenses, the better off you will be. For your information, number 99 is now worn by Dallas Butts, a 6-3, 250 pound freshman from, no kidding, Dallas, Texas.
Rule Number Seven
Appropriately placed here is the all important reminder that if Navy somehow wins 7 games this season, they will go to their unprecedented seventh straight bowl game. If the Mids beat who they will probably be favored against (Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, Rice, SMU, and Temple) and lose to the teams they will be underdogs to (Ohio State, Pitt, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame), that means they have to split Delaware, Hawaii, Air Force and Army in order to go to the Texas Bowl. It’s doable, but it is definitely not a given. So for this rule, you must just remind yourself that 7-6 is a successful year and beating Louisiana Tech on September 12 would be advisable.
Rule Number Eight
The Army game is on Saturday, December 12 this year – a whole week later than the last several seasons. And that means it is time to start preparing your family for the reality that with the Christmas holiday season will have a four to six hour interruption right in the middle of a prime shopping day. I highly recommend thinking about starting a new tradition – an Army/Navy themed Christmas party at your house. Feel free to invite me.
Rule Number Nine
If you are like me and won’t be able to attend every single Navy football game this season, be sure to have your laptop fully charged each Saturday morning. You will need to be logged onto this web site to follow the in-game commentary by the resident Navy football experts. And by ‘experts’ I mean all the crazy Midshipmen football fans out there who know everything. Nothing is more fun than trying to be the first person to celebrate in a game thread after a Navy touchdown. I also enjoy predicting plays, discussing controversial replay calls, and reacting to anything Erin Andrews says when she does an interview. Oh wait, she doesn’t work for CBS yet – yet. One can dream…where was I? Oh yeah…
Rule Number Ten
Remember win or lose, you are one of the luckiest fans in the world. Your team is almost always on national television. Your team has a shot to win every game they play. Your team runs a really cool offense and has a defense that runs 100 mph on each play. And most importantly, seeing your team run out onto the field with the American flag prior to each game is as good as it gets because it reminds you that you root for America’s team.
Enjoy the season!