Navy's Johnson too kind to some pathetic opponents

Commentary

October 09, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

Well, they won't have to rearrange the trophy case at the Naval Academy any time soon, no matter how gracious football coach Paul Johnson wants to be when he talks about the only obstacle to retaining the Commander in Chief's Trophy.

Navy's heart-stopping victory over Air Force yesterday all but secured the "C-I-C" for the third straight season. The only scenario that would wrest the trophy away from the Midshipman requires Army to defeat both Air Force and Navy during the final three weeks of the season.

Johnson wasn't being the least bit sarcastic when he referred to a "fine Army team" during yesterday's post-game news conference, though I'm sure there were a few eyes rolling in the audience.

"One of our goals is to keep the Commander in Chief's Trophy, and at least we control our destiny," said Johnson, who improved his record against the other academies to 6-1. "We're excited about that."

While the Mids were rallying from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Falcons, Army's Black Knights were dropping to 0-5 with a 14-10 loss to Central Michigan. The odds of their defeating both service academy rivals this year are right up there with the likelihood that an Eagles fan will develop the vaccine for the avian flu.

Johnson also referred to next week's homecoming opponent as "a great Kent State team," though the Golden Flashes are 1-4 and their only victory was over 0-5 Southeast Missouri State. Can't wait to hear what adjective he comes up with for the Temple game.

Sophomore kicker Joey Bullen admitted he wasn't that thrilled at first with the new FieldTurf at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, but it grew on him in a hurry. The mud was ankle deep outside the stadium after several inches of rain overnight, but the field was in near-perfect shape when he lined up for his hurried 46-yard field goal to win the game.

"I'm so thankful we have this new field," he said. "At first, I really didn't like it, but it drains so well. In that kind of weather [on grass] there would have been divots all over the place, but there were no divots. It was a perfectly flat surface."

Maybe it's time to take my own advice and get out of the prediction business. It was just two days ago that I reminded everyone how I had written off the Red Sox when they fell three games behind the Yankees in last year's American League Championship Series. Then I proceeded to un-write them off in this year's division series against the White Sox.

Oh well. The Red Sox, perhaps discouraged to hear I had predicted their un-demise, went down meekly and left me red-faced again. At least I'm consistent. I also predicted in my first "Jimmyville" column in April that Boston would miss the playoffs.

Fair question: What exactly are the qualifications to be the Page 2 columnist at The Sun?

This is the week that all of your questions will be answered about the composition of the Orioles' front office and the future of the franchise.

No, I'm not predicting that owner Peter Angelos will announce his intentions regarding Sam Perlozzo, Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan. I'm saying that either he will, which will say a lot about the future of the Orioles, or he won't, which will remove all doubt.

If Angelos really doesn't feel any sense of urgency at this point, then there isn't any point in any of us worrying about it anymore, either.

The rain that washed out yesterday's playoff game between the Angels and Yankees exposed the major problem with the five-game-series concept. Game 4 has been moved to tonight at 7:55 and, if the Yankees even the series, the teams will fly coast-to-coast overnight to play the decisive game in Anaheim tomorrow evening.

There's got to be a fairer way to eliminate one of the American League division champions.

Let's clear one thing up right now. I am not Mr. Flip. I might, however, be Spartacus.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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