Army Football 2003: A prediction

Todd Berry and the Black Knights struggled early in the 2002 season with devastating losses to Holy Cross and Rutgers. The Cadets improved steadily throughout the season before bottoming out against Navy. Army loaded its schedule with early home games and look to get off to a good start in 2003. This is how I see the Cadets marching on through the upcoming 2003 season.

Connecticut, Sept. 6, at West Point- This program is relatively new to big time football but has made steady progress towards becoming a quality program. The Huskies finished 6-6 overall last season with wins over Navy, 38-0 and Iowa State, 37-20 but fell to Temple, 38-24 and Miami (FL), 48-14. Army will put up a fight in this opener but have picked the wrong year to play the Huskies. Prediction: Army 21 UConn 28.

Rutgers, Sept. 13, at West Point- Rutgers, who dominated Army last year with a good passing game, looks to repeat with another win. Rutgers, like Army, finished the 2002 season with a record of 1-11. Over the spring they have worked on their line on both sides of the ball. Prediction: Army 35 Rutgers 10.

Tulane, Sept. 20, at West Point- Tulane finished last season with a record of 8-5 and finished their season by winning the Hawaii Bowl. Tulane returns 10 starters to their powerful offensive attack, but just 3 starters return to the defense. Prediction: Army 20 Tulane 35.

South Florida, Sept. 27, at West Point- The Bulls were disappointed when their bowl bubble was burst last season but look to show that they deserve a bowl bid this year. This is the Bulls first year in Conference USA and they will rely on a strong passing game. The Bulls went 4-0 against the Conference USA in 2002 and are excited to join the conference. Prediction: Army 35 South Florida 31.

Texas Christian, Oct. 4, at Fort Worth, TX- Coach Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs ended the 2002 season on a sweet note with a Liberty Bowl win over tough Colorado State and a 10-2 record. The Horned Frogs return 4 starters on offense and 6 on defense. This could be Army's turning point for the season but don't expect a victory. Prediction: Army 20 TCU 31.

Louisville, Oct. 11 at Louisville, KY- First year Head Coach Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals are stoked about the 2003 season and the new installation of their FieldTurf at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville went 5-3 in Conference play and 7-6 overall last year including a big win over Florida State. Prediction: Army 16 Louisville 31.

East Carolina, Oct. 18 at West Point- The Pirates went 4-8 last year, their first losing season in 5 years. Their wins included a 59-24 win over Army. First year coach John Thompson looks to lead the Pirates to a winning season by the means of the Pirates running game led by power Fullback Vonta Leach. This is going to be a defensive battle. Prediction: Army 13 ECU 9.

Cincinnati, Oct. 25 at Cincinnati, OH- The Bearcats have made bowl appearances in each of the past 3 seasons, but only have 10 returning players. The Bearcats look to rebuild on offense since they lost their 3 starting receivers, 2 linemen and a star running back, which led the conference in passing and total offense last season. Prediction: Army 14 Cincinnati 17.

UAB, Nov. 1 at Birmingham, AL- Watson Brown and the UAB who went 4-4 in conference play last season and 5-7 overall seem to be preparing for a building year in the upcoming season. Strangely the Blazers are a young team with some experienced players. Sophomore Darrell Hackney, the Blazers signal-caller, had 1,977 last season while only starting the last 7 games. Three of last year's running backs that combined for 1,333 yards are all returning, (None of them being Seniors). Prediction: Army 28 UAB 10.

Air Force, Nov. 8 at Landover, Md.- The Falcons finished the 2002 season with an 8-5 record, going 4-3 in the Mountain West conference. Coach Fisher DeBerry and his 16 returning starters look to be even better in 2003 with a strong secondary and an even better running game. Prediction: Army 13 Air Force 27.

Houston, Nov. 15 at Houston, TX.- The Cougars recently hired Art Briles (former UH player) as their 10th football coach. Briles is switching things around defensively and the quarterback position was going through some setbacks during spring practice. One of the only areas that the Cougars are set in is receiver where they have Brandon Middleton who has the second best yards per catch average in the nation. Don't expect the Cougars to do anything out of the ordinary in their new offensive and defensive schemes. Prediction: Army 24 Houston 7.

Hawaii, Nov. 22 at Honolulu, HI- The Warriors, who have had one of the strongest offenses in the NCAA over the past few years, are picked to win their conference championship. The Warriors had a 7-1 conference record and a 10-4 overall record last year. Don't expect the Cadets to stop the Warriors powerful offense. Prediction: Army 21 Hawaii 37.

Navy, Dec. 6 Philadelphia, PA- If there is any game Army fans are looking forward it's this one. The Cadets are looking for some revenge after last year's humiliation Army 21 Navy 45. Navy finished last season with a record of 2-10. Don't expect the same results as last year. Army will be ready for some revenge. Prediction: Army 27 Navy 24.

6-6 may seem like an outlandish prediction but that's the way I see it. Army will be one of the most improved teams in college football in 2003. Todd Berry will be nominated for National Coach of the Year honors.


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