It was a very slow week in the college ranks. Most teams finished their season last week. There were some quarterfinal playoff games in the FCS division. The FCS division has a real postseason playoff with 24 teams. Can you imagine that? The FBS bowl games start on Saturday, 12/20.
There was one game in the FBS division and it was a big one. It was the 115th meeting of the Army and Navy military academies. The first game was in 1890. The Army-Navy game is full of tradition. This year the Black Knights and the Midshipmen met in Baltimore. Navy went into the game with a 6-5 record and a 12 game winning streak over Army which had a 4-7 record. Navy was heavily favored. As is often the case in traditional rivalry games records and point spreads don't mean much. Army got off to a good start by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown on the Midshipmen first possession. They then played great defense until the very end of the second quarter. Navy put together a 70 yard drive and scored a TD with 0:18 remaining in the half. Tie score 7-7 at intermission. The Midshipmen scored a FG in the third quarter and another TD early in the fourth. The Black Knights managed a FG with a little less than two minutes remaining in the game. They failed to recover the onside kick. Navy ran out the clock for a 17-10 win, their 13th in a row. The stats were pretty close. Neither team is much of a passing threat. The difference was Navy put together a couple of sustained drives. It turned out to be a better game than most expected but the result was the same as it has been lately. This ends the season for Army with a 4-8 record. Navy will play San Diego State in the very long named SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL. I must admit I'm a Midshipmen fan having a son who is a career Navy man and having grown up in a Navy town. Their 13 game winning streak is fine with me.
There were no new AP or College Playoff polls this week.
In the pro ranks I scored another trifecta. In what has become a trend, the Jaguars got out to a lead 12-10 at the half and then failed to score in the second half. Final score Baltimore 20 Jacksonville 10. Bortles was 21/37 for 210 yards and an interception. He was also sacked eight times. All the Jags points were from field goals and one of the Ravens TDs was on a blocked punt. Not exactly an offensive spectacular. The Jaguars are now 2-12 for the season and have yet to win an away game. Mercifully there are only two games left in the season. The next one is at home against Tennessee on Thursday night so I will get to see one of the few Jaguar games on the NFL network.
In Atlanta the Falcons fell behind the Steelers by 13 early and never could catch up. It was a close game in every aspect except for turnovers. Atlanta only had one, but it resulted in a Pittsburgh TD, the difference in the 27-20 Steelers win. This lose takes the Falcons record to 5-9 but they are still in the hunt for the NFC South title. That brings with it a home field playoff game. Their next two games are against New Orleans and Carolina, the two division teams they are in the race with.
Finally we have Tampa Bay at Carolina. The Buccaneers scored a TD in the first quarter and one in the fourth. In between they only managed a FG. The Panthers didn't do much better, scoring only one TD all game but they did four FGs for a 19-17 win. Carolina did win the statistical battle with about 100 more total yards and an amazing 15 more minutes time of possession. Tampa Bay helped out by committing three turnovers. The Bucs fall to 2-12 and next host the Packers.
The Jags and Bucs are tied with the Raiders and Titans for the worst record and thereby first draft choice. With only two games remaining in the regular season, it seems certain one of these four teams will win the draft lottery. The Jags and Titans play each other this coming Thursday so one of them will move to three wins (barring a tie).