PHILADELPHIA -- The Army-Navy series has long held its lofty spot as sport's most patriotic rivalry, with pride, prestige and the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy potentially at stake for each service academy.
Also on the line, Navy's 11-game series winning streak, which has turned the annual regular-season finale into one of sport's most lopsided rivalries.
Navy (7-4) has not only defeated Army 11 straight times, it has won 13 of the past 14 games and 14 of 16.
Army's only wins over the past 16 years came in 2001 and 1998.
Navy's Ken Niumatalolo is trying to become the second coach in Midshipmen history to start 6-0 against the Black Knights.
With a win, Navy (7-4) would retain the CIC trophy, awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies, for the second straight season.
"This is the game we want to win," Niumatalolo said, "but we don't talk about the streak."
This game usually ends the season for Army (3-8). Navy will play Middle Tennessee (8-4) in the Dec. 30 Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
Billed as "America's Game," Lincoln Financial Field will be stuffed with Cadets and Midshipmen standing, bouncing and cheering the entire game. Beating Army has become an annual tradition for Navy. None of the Mids want to be associated with a team that ended the streak.
Navy's 17-13 win last season was the tightest margin since the winning streak started. Unlike previous games over the last decade, the Black Knights were in the game until their final 70-yard drive. Army had driven to the 14 when QB Trent Steelman and fullback Larry Dixon fumbled on a sloppy exchange. Navy recovered and the Midshipmen on the sideline went wild and rushed the field.
"It was painful, no doubt about that, but in this game," Army coach Rich Ellerson said, "you've got to leave this stuff behind."