Presto’s Pick: Navy and Notre Dame kick off the year

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The D.C. area pools may still be open, but my calendar officially turns a page this weekend. I like to say that college football offers the best regular season in sports but the branding of “Week Zero” keeps it from being perfect.

I don’t mind the soft start to the season but “Week Zero” makes one want to say “Weak Zero.” And it’s still August! Do we have to do this? Can’t summer last just one more week? My U.Va. tailgating pals Kippy and Buffy aren’t even back from their cottage in the Outer Banks! See you next week for the first full edition of “Presto’s Picks.” Until then …

Tai Lavatai
Tai Lavatai was hurt for last year’s game with Notre Dame. Will he make the difference this season? (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Navy vs. No. 13 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., NBC

So let me get this straight-the Midshipmen are facing the Fighting Irish in the capital of Ireland? Talk about a built-in home field disadvantage. This will be the third time the two schools will have played there, or three more times than the longtime foes have met in Annapolis, Maryland. The Mids lost last year’s game by three in Baltimore-one of five one-possession defeats for the team-as the Fighting Irish scored on touchdown passes of 30, 37 and 38 yards.

Head Coach Brian Newberry’s two predecessors this century (Paul Johnson and Ken Niumatalolo) won their first regular season games at the helm, although SMU in 2002 and Towson in 2008 aren’t exactly apples-to-apples comparisons with Notre Dame. Coach Marcus Freeman’s team returns 14 starters with former Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman taking over the offense one year after he threw 38 touchdown passes for Demon Deacons. Can the Navy D keep the Irish in check?

Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen sink in their opener, 35-10.

Last Season: 88-38.


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