After running Navy for 15 years, the Midshipmen replaced Ken Niumatalolo for Brian Newberry. With the shift in the AAC and turnover at the head coaching position, the current college football odds have the Navy win projections right at 6.5.
Can Newberry turn a program around that was winning an average of 8-10 games per year just less than a decade ago?
College Football Odds – Navy Win Projections: O/U 6.5 Total Wins
Last season, the Midshipmen went just 4-8 in Niumatalolo’s last season. Over his career, Niumatalolo went 109-83, 54 more wins than any head coach in school history.
The decline over the past few seasons certainly was a reason for Niumatalolo’s dismissal. They finished 11-2 in 2019 but went 3-7, 4-8, and 4-8 in the three years following, leading to his exit.
Newberry takes over after serving as defensive coordinator since 2019. His accolades include winning the Broyles Award for best assistant coach.
Newberry inherits an interesting team that is set to replace starting quarterback Tai Lavatai. Despite incumbent Xavier Arline on the roster, that job could likely go to either sophomore Tedros Gleaton or Blake Horvath. Leading rusher fullback Daba Fofana (769 yards, six touchdowns) also returns.
The real intrigue here is how offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut is going to be running this offense. He is planning on keeping the option offense, but is planning on incorporating more passing concepts. That could make things more intriguing for the Midshipmen.
On defense, they are set to start six seniors and five juniors with all seniors on the defensive line.
The aggressive unit projects well this season, as they allowed the third-least plays per game at 58.6 plays and did a great job getting off the field, ranking ninth in red zone touchdown rate (45.7%) and 10th in goal-to-go TD rate (60.0%).
Should You Bet on the Midshipmen this Season?
This is an interesting one. Draft Kings Sportsbook has the over at +125 and the under at -150. I’m not a big fan of betting on a win total with a two-thirds return.
The over feels a little ambitious, considering what last season looked like, but the AAC isn’t very strong in 2023. It helps that they get Notre Dame in Week 0 because the game could be easier as Sam Hartman should be, in theory, getting acclimated to the offense.
The caveat here is going to be how the offense shapes up.
Will the passing game become a real factor? If it is, the Midshipmen could take a major step toward getting out of the gutter. The odds are too lopsided not to take a chance at the over, but don’t bet your whole bankroll on it.
Bet: Over (+125)