As the 119th iteration of the Army-Navy football rivalry draws closer, retired play-by-play broadcaster Verne Lundquist, who often covered the game for CBS, believes Navy could play spoiler as Army attempts to hold on to the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy Dec. 8.
It's been a disappointing year for Navy (3-9 overall, 0-6 on the road), and the matchup against its rivals from West Point, N.Y., will not make it any easier.
Sitting at 9-2 overall and having gone undefeated at home, the Black Knights have had one of their most successful seasons in recent program history and are set to face American Athletic Conference powerhouse Houston in this year's Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 22.
Despite this disparity in success, Lundquist believes that, like all great rivalries, the meaning behind the game will never be diminished by records or circumstance.
"The first game I ever saw in person was in Baltimore ... and that was in 2000," Lundquist said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Dec. 5. "I think we had 0-11 against 0-10-1 … and I realized it didn't matter. It just didn't matter."
Lundquist's love for the Army-Navy rivalry started when he was just young child, at a time when Army was a college football dynasty. Army won three national championships from 1944-1946 and had two players win the Heisman Trophy: fullback Doc Blanchard (1945) and halfback Glenn Davis (1946).
"I can remember listening to the radio broadcast," Lundquist said. "I think beginning with that childhood memory, it always attracted a special place in my heart."
Led by junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr., the Black Knights will hope to dominate the game as they have all season -- by controlling the ball. They currently lead the country in time of possession and are second in rushing offense (303.0 yards per game).
As Navy looks to end Army's two-game winning streak in the rivalry with an upset, the Midshipmen will have to beat the Black Knights at their own game. With the third-ranked rushing offense in the country (288.9 yards), the Mids might be able to do just that.
While it remains to be seen who will come out on top, it is not likely Lundquist will be watching anything else Dec. 8.
Since retiring from broadcasting in 2016 -- signing off for the final time at that year's Army-Navy game -- Lundquist still reminisces about the joy his last game and the rivalry as a whole brought him.
"It was as emotional an experience as I've ever had," Lundquist said. "I would have done it forever."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of HarperCollins