Brye French, a senior inside linebacker for Navy, spent a few of his teenage years in Deatsville, Ala., so he has heard plenty about football rivalries in which emotions can boil over.
“When you talk about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry in the Iron Bowl, yeah, that’s a big rivalry, and there’s hatred and a little history to it,” French said this week. “But that’s in-state.”
He added: “When you talk about Army-Navy, you’re talking about guys and gals serving our country around the world. If you watch it, you can see a difference. It’s not based on hatred. The rivalry is based on the love of the game. We’re not going to be signing contracts after the season to play in the N.F.L. We’re playing because we love the game, and we’re playing for our brothers. We have the utmost respect for them. We’re very similar.”
Army and Navy, which will meet on Saturday for the 113th time, do have one big difference: Navy has beaten Army 10 straight times, the longest streak in the series.