On Saturday, the Navy Midshipmen (2-3) head to Piscataway, NJ to battle the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-1, 2-0). Navy's three straight defeats, in conjunction with the Scarlet Knights' three-game winning streak and homefield advantage, conspire to make the Midshipmen the underdogs. The oddsmakers gave a 3.5-point edge to Rutgers when the line opened, according to SB Nation partner Oddsshark, but seem to have soured on Navy in the days since. The line has moved to four points in most places, and to as high as 4.5 points.
The Midshipmen's season started strongly enough, as they took their first two games by a combined score of 80-31. However, Navy began to unravel after a 24-21 defeat to the South Carolina Gamecocks, then ranked No. 10 in the nation, on Sep. 17. After a bye week, Navy dropped a one-point decision to the Air Force Falcons and then followed that up with a 28-point loss against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. To be fair, Navy was without top running back Alexander Teich due to suspension, but his absence does not account for why Navy yielded 63 points and 584 yards of total offense.
Given that Navy may soon receive an invitation to join the Big East, this game could serve as a preview of future conference battles.