Army will retain the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy this season at the very least, but the Black Knights have the chance to claim the prize outright on Saturday when they play Navy in the annual rivalry showdown between the service academies at 3 p.m. ET on CBS. Navy can play the role of spoiler and salvage an otherwise disappointing season with an upset win in college football‘s most patriotic rivalry game as the regular season officially comes to a close.
Navy won 14 straight games in the series between 2002 and 2015, but Army has taken control recently with victories in four of the last five. That includes a 15-0 win last season that marked the first shutout performance in the series since a 34-0 Navy win in 2008.
Because the Black Knights beat Air Force 21-14 on Nov. 6, they are in position to at least retain physical possession of the trophy even with a loss. Air Force beat Navy 23-3 on Sept. 11., so if Navy defeats Army, the three service academies would each be 1-1 against each other. Because Army won the trophy last season, however, it would retain possession of the trophy for another year.
How to watch Army vs. Navy live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 11 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: MetLife Stadium — East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free), Paramount+ Premium
Watch along: Follow along live on Saturday and subscribe to the Cover 3 Podcast Youtube channel where we break down the Army vs. Navy action with analysis, special guests and more.
Army vs. Navy: Need to know
Army’s historic run: Since the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy was established for the 1972 season, this is Army’s best run. The Black Knights have won the trophy outright in three of the last four seasons, and they can make it four of five with a win in this game. That would best the program’s previous best five-year run of three outright trophies between 1984 and 1988.
Last season’s struggle: Last season’s 15-0 Army win made for the lowest-scoring game in the series since the teams played a to a 3-3 tie in 1981. Army led just 3-0 entering the fourth quarter before a Tyhier Tyler 4-yard run put the Black Knights up two possessions with 11:02 to play. The teams combined for just 279 total yards and a total of two completed passes. It was an epic defensive struggle, even by the standards of two low-scoring, option-oriented offenses.
Navy needs momentum: 14th-year Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has posted 10 winning seasons in his tenure and won 11 games on two occasions, the most recent coming in 2019. But the Midshipmen are going to finish with a losing record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02, which was during the coaching transition from Charlie Weatherbie to Paul Johnson. Service academies are typically more patient with head coaches than other schools, but a win over an arch-rival would surely go a long way to alleviating whatever pressure Niumatalolo may be feeling.