This approach has Army schedule four games that can be considered reaches for the team yet offer the chance for Army to play marquee teams with bigger paydays. The next group of four are teams Army should be evenly matched against. While this hasn't been the case the past decade the two fellow service academies should fall into this group. The final grouping should be four teams that Army should be expected to defeat.
First let's look at the 2012 schedule. This season should, believe it or not, be the final season for Trent Steelman as Army quarterback.
Sept. 8 at San Diego State
Sept. 15 NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Sept. 22 at Wake Forest
Sept. 29 STONY BROOK
Oct. 6 at Boston College
Oct. 13 KENT STATE
Oct. 20 at Eastern Michigan
Oct. 27 BALL STATE
Nov. 3 AIR FORCE (at Yankee Stadium)
Nov. 10 at Rutgers
Nov. 17 TEMPLE
Dec. 8 Navy at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
TBD Military Bowl (Washington) if bowl eligible
The Black Knights open on the road at San Diego State in the return game from this year's home opener. This should be a challenging game but at least Brady Hoke will be gone two years. The following week they play against Northern Illinois at Michie Stadium. The good news is that both of these wide open passing attacks they play to open the season should be breaking in new quarterbacks. On September 22 Army travels to Wake Forest as they start the first of a three games series. Wake Forest is the ideal ACC opponent in that it is a solid program that is academically challenging. September ends with a home game against Stony Brook. It is probably the worst game on the Army schedule in years. The only interest in this game for an Army fan is to watch Stony Brook cornerback Davonte Anderson. Anderson originally committed to Army and was the most impressive cornerback at the United State Military Academy Prep School in 2009. He took the oath on R-Day but quit during 2010 Beast Barracks. Anderson enrolled at Stony Brook and became a starter intercepting four passes last year while starting ten games. The Black Knights could use him this season.
October opens with a game on the road against ACC's Boston College. Three consecutive MAC teams
complete the month with Kent State at home, Eastern Michigan, again on the road, and Ball State at home. This is the third time in the last four years Army will play Eastern Michigan on the road. The Eagles have struggled to draw at home so former AD Kevin Anderson offered to play them three straight years on the road to help their attendance since Army draws better than a MAC team would.
November opens with Army playing against Air Force at Yankee Stadium. Since this game is usually sold out at Michie Stadium, a crowd of 40,000 plus could be expected as long as the Yankees don't set the ticket prices ridiculously high. Don't hold your breath. I don't like taking a home game from Michie against Air Force and putting it on a neutral field. Army against Notre Dame or maybe eventually a game against Navy at Yankee Stadium makes sense. Army-Navy has occasionally rotated to the Meadow lands with the last game being played there in 2002. On November 10, Army plays at Rutgers which should be a tough game after Greg Schiano's new recruits are more experienced. Army then plays its final home game against Temple. After not having a week off all season the Black Knights wait three weeks to play Navy in the finale in Philly. If Army is bowl eligible they will play in the Military Bowl in Washington D.C. (formerly the Eagle bank Bowl) at RFK stadium.
The 2013 season would be a milestone year for Rich Ellerson in that every player in the program will have been recruited and coached only by him at Army.
Aug. 31 MORGAN STATE
Sept. 7 at Ball State
Sept. 14 STANFORD
Sept. 21 WAKE FOREST
Sept. 28 at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 5 BOSTON COLLEGE
Oct. 12 EASTERN MICHIGAN
Oct. 19 at Temple
Nov. 2 at Air Force
Nov. 9 WESTERN KENTUCKY
Nov. 30 at Hawaii
Dec. 14 Navy at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
TBD Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego) if bowl eligible
In 2013 Army finally opens a football season at home and faces FCS opponent Morgan State. Army will have its first season opening game at home since 2008. However, Morgan State, a not very good MEAC school, is a rather uninspiring choice for an opponent. The Black Knights travel next to Ball State in the first of three MAC match ups on the schedule. The games against the MAC conference are good match ups for Army.
The following two weeks Army draws Stanford and Wake Forest to Michie Stadium. These are great match ups against a PAC-10 and ACC opponents with higher academic status that will most likely fill the stadium. At the end of September they travel to Louisiana Tech. They have played Navy the last few years dropping both games after putting a scare in the Mids. Army defeated Louisiana Tech in their only previous meeting in 2008.
October begins with ACC opponent Boston College visiting West Point. BC is good program that once again should be a major challenge for the Black Knights. This is the first of four consecutive years Army will play BC. The next two weeks the MAC returns with Eastern Michigan finally playing Army at Michie and the Black Knights traveling to Temple. The month of October concludes a bye week.
Army opens November with a trip to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force. The Falcons have defeated Army five consecutive times. Army is just 1-15 since 1979 in Colorado Springs. The following week they return home to play their final 2013 game at Michie when they take on Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt conference. Army then takes the rest of the month off before playing Rich Ellerson's alma mater Hawaii on the island November 30. It is surprising Army plays only three games from Oct 19 until facing off against Navy. Since the Black Knights were playing Hawaii on the road they had the option of adding a 13th game but chose not to do so. Navy, as usual now, is the second week of the month. If Army wins six games by November 30 the Black Knights will be bowl eligible and play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, California. The Poinsettia Bowl has hosted Navy three times and does a first class job running its bowl week. It is a far superior experience for the players than most second tier bowls.
Now let's look at the recently released 2014 schedule. This will be the current 2011 talented freshman class's senior year.
Sept. 6 BUFFALO
Sept. 13 at Stanford
Sept. 20 at Wake Forest
Sept. 27 at Yale
Oct. 4 BALL STATE
Oct. 11 RICE
Oct. 18 at Kent State
Nov. 1 AIR FORCE
Nov. 8 Boston College at Yankee Stadium
Nov. 15 at Western Kentucky
Nov. 22 FORDHAM
Dec. 13 Navy at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Army opens the 2014 season against in-state Buffalo at Michie Stadium. The next two weeks they make return trips to Stanford and Wake Forest on the road. The September 27 game at Yale makes no sense to me. First, it will be the first of two FCS games. Yale because they do not reward scholarships will not count toward bowl eligibility. Army would have to win 6 of 10 games to be bowl eligible which is a steep road to climb. Army is playing this game because it is the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl. While the athletic department is seeking an NCAA waiver to allow the Yale game to count towards bowl eligibility, don't hold your breath. Army should never play a FCS opponent on the road.
October opens with two home games against Ball State from the MAC and Rice from Conference USA. The following week they travel to Kent State before a bye week. The 2014 November slate is full unlike other years. Army hosts Air Force at home to open the month The next week they travel to Yankee Stadium for a game against Boston College. In my opinion this game should be at Michie Stadium since Boston College might be a Catholic university but it not Notre Dame. Their fans historically don't travel well. The Black Knights visit Western Kentucky the next week. Army then hosts Fordham at home to close the home schedule. It been a long time since the days of the Seven Blocks of Granite. Fordham just started awarding football scholarships again in 2009. The Rams last played Army in 1949. Again, I can see one FCS opponent but not two. The season concludes with the finale against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland which is a great facility. Bob Beretta says Army has secured bowl tie-ins from 2014-2017 but those bowl tie-ins have not been made public yet.