As Navy prepares for the post-Ricky Dobbs era, it can look forward to a schedule without a likely top-10 opponent in 2011.
It also won't have many easy games, either.
The Midshipmen will play eight bowl teams from 2010 (plus Division I-AA finalist Delaware) as part of a 12-game schedule featuring five home games and a date with Army at FedEx Field. Win at least six, and Navy heads to the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium.
||at Western Kentucky
||at South Carolina
|Oct. 1||Air Force
||at Notre Dame
|Nov. 12||at Southern Methodist
||at San Jose State
||vs. Army (Landover)
|TBA||Military Bowl (ACC #8)
There's only two bad teams on that schedule (though anyone who saw Rutgers this fall might have reason to argue that assessment), and Navy must visit both. It also isn't a schedule loaded with opponents from automatic BCS qualifying conferences (just Notre Dame, Rutgers and South Carolina).
In short, it's exactly the sort of schedule Navy should play --- challenging, but at the same time one that isn't so over the top that it isn't manageable. Even with the loss of Dobbs, there's no reason for Mids fans not to expect to see their team reach a ninth straight bowl game based on the opponents alone. For an independent left to forage for a dozen games each season, that's a sign of smart scheduling.