You get the feeling that the various publications and analysts out there have no idea what to do with Navy as we head into the 2017 season. On one hand this is pretty easy to understand. The Mids play a devilishly tough schedule this fall and their quarterback situation is hardly locked down in a way that writers would be comfortable with as it was in the Keenan Reynolds days.
On the other hand, this is Navy and, importantly, this is Navy under Ken Niumatalolo which means that the team is pretty much impossible to just rate as the sum of its parts.
Niumatalolo has been on the Navy sideline in some capacity for 19 of the last 22 years. In that time the Mids have gone a combined 144-92, winning 61-percent of their games, and have played in 14 bowl games.
Recent history is even better. The Mids are 26-8 – winning percentage of 76 – over its last 34 games. That comes despite the Mids missing 102 combined games from starters and key contributors last season. That record also includes appearances by at least five quarterbacks.
Niumatalolo just knows how to coach the most out of his players and bring wins to Annapolis.
That is why the Mids are projected to win the AAC West by both Street & Smith’s Magazine and Lindy’s College Football Preview Magazine despite other teams in the conference having better rosters when you look at them player by player. It is why the Orlando Sentinel ranks Navy at No. 59 in the country, while The Comeback has Navy ranked 13 places higher at No. 46 in the nation. Basically, it is hard to rank a team that always outperforms its expected level.
That is why every single time you read an article about Navy from the national press it includes something along the lines of, ‘Navy wins consistently regardless of personnel changes’. It is the toughness and the mentality that Niumatalolo brings to the table that allowed Navy to win in this way and the fact that the Mids are making life tough on these analysts is clearly a good thing for their fans.