Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Navy's nice finish to the 2012 season was good enough to get them to 8-4, but the Midshipmen haven't been given much of a chance by pickers against Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Navy played a strong second half to their season, including an important win over Army, but many expect Arizona State to roll in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, including almost everybody charged with picking the game.
The Sun Devils looked like their season had taken a nose dive in Todd Graham's first year on the job, losing four straight after starting the year 5-1. But they closed strong with a blowout win over Washington State to seal bowl eligibility and then a 41-34 shootout victory over rivals Arizona, then ranked No. 24. Navy struggled early with lopsided losses to Notre Dame, Penn State, and San Jose State - all teams that would likely have finished the year ranked, had Penn State been eligible - but won seven of their last eight after switching to true freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who ditched the triple option to throw bombs in the team's season-defining win over Army. That said, the Midshipmen only had one win in three tries against power conference squads, a 31-30 squeaker over an awful Indiana team.
Not many think that momentum can carry over into the bowl game, however. As such, Jerry Palm of CBS picks the Sun Devils to cover the 14.5 point spread, Stewart Mandel of SI.com predicts an 18-point ASU victory, and John Tamanaha of College Football Talk upped the ante to 19 points. SB Nation's panel of experts and advanced data each predict Navy losses in their bowl picks and predictions post as well.