The date: Sept. 2
The opponent: at Arkansas State
The skinny: Army defeated Arkansas State 38-10 at home last fall ... Redshirt freshman Travis Hewitt is the favorite to win the Indians' quarterback job. Hewitt is the only returning Arkansas State player who attempted a pass (eight) last season. That serves as the fifth-fewest returning attempts by a team in the nation. Army is eighth (12 attempts, all by David Pevoto last season) ... Speaking of Pevoto, he struggles in the opener, but gets picked up by the Army defense.
The prediction: Army 21, Arkansas State 17 Record: 1-0
The date: Sept. 9
The opponent: Kent State
The skinny: Army hasn't enjoyed a home-opening win at Michie Stadium since 1996. Enter Kent State. The Golden Flashes finished 1-10 last season and serve as the perfect whipping boy ... It won't be a complete walkover. Pevoto gets better, but the defense leads the way again.
The prediction: Army 24, Kent State 15 Record: 2-0
The date: Sept. 16
The opponent: Texas A&M (in San Antonio)
The skinny: Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione is on the hot seat. The Aggies finished 5-6 last year and lost their last four games of the year. Expect Texas A&M to enter this game 2-0 after easy wins over The Citadel and Louisiana-Lafayette. Another mediocre season is in the cards for the Aggies, but they still have too much for Army.
The prediction: Texas A&M 35, Army 24 Record: 2-1
The date: Sept. 23
The opponent: at Baylor
The skinny: Consecutive trips to Texas may not bode well for a team that has struggled on the road in recent years ... Baylor's spread offense gives Army trouble and the Black Knights can't cash in on offensive opportunities.
The prediction: Baylor 28, Army 21 Record: 2-2
The date: Sept. 30
The opponent: Rice
The skinny: So much for the two-game losing streak. A Rice team that went 1-10 last fall proves no match for Army ... Pevoto puts in a career game: let's call it 280 yards with three touchdowns ... The Black Knights' running back, Dace, Robinson, Lay, Herndon, whoever it ends up being, puts up 100 rushing yards ... Linebacker Barrett Scruggs returns a fumble for a touchdown.
The prediction: Army 41, Rice 21 Record: 3-2
The date: Oct. 7
The opponent: Virginia Military Institute
The skinny: With an extra week to prepare for the Division I-AA school, the Black Knights click again. Ross' alma mater proves no match for Army. This win leaves the Black Knights two wins from bowl eligibility.
The prediction: Army 30, VMI 13 Record: 4-2
The date: Oct. 14
The opponent: at Connecticut
The skinny: Aside from Navy, UConn has dealt Army its two most embarrassing losses over the pat two years. The Huskies beat the Black Knights 47-13 last season and 40-3 in 2004. Ross shredded his players, rightfully so, after each defeat. There will be no shred job this fall. Just a hard-fought loss.
The prediction: Connecticut 17, Army 9 Record: 4-3
The date: Oct. 21
The opponent: TCU
The skinny: TCU finished last year 11-1 and ranked ninth in the final USA Today poll. Still, Army trailed the Horned Frogs by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, before losing 38-17 in Fort Worth, Texas. Army's real motivation will be the Heartbreak on the Hudson in 2004: Poised to win its first game of the season, the Black Knights led TCU 17-0 in the third quarter, before losing 21-17. Expect another spirited effort by Army. TCU running back Robert Merrill scores a 5-yard touchdown with 2:13 left in regulation to secure the win.
The prediction: TCU 28, Army 24 Record: 4-4
The date: Oct. 28
The opponent: at Tulane
The skinny: Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Tulane played 11 games in 11 different stadiums last year, including six "home games" in six different cities. The Green Wave finished 2-9, 1-7 in Conference USA ... Expect a better Tulane team in 2006. Justin Koenig kicks three field goals, including the game-winner, to give Army a win.
The prediction: Army 16, Tulane 14 Record: 5-4
The date: Nov. 3
The opponent: Air Force
The skinny: Air Force whipped up on Army for eight years, before the Black Knights beat their service academy rivals last year. It marked Army's first win in Colorado Springs in 28 seasons ... It's time Army did some of the pushing in this series ... The Falcons finished 4-7, 3-5 in the Mountain West last year. Air Force has put up consecutive losing seasons for the first time during coach Fisher DeBerry's tenure ... Army helps make it three losing seasons in a row in a thriller.
The prediction: Army 22, Air Force 21 Record: 6-4
The date: Nov. 18
The opponent: at Notre Dame
The skinny: The Fighting Irish possess a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Brady Quinn and may compete for a national title this fall. So there is no shame in Notre Dame taking it to Army this fall ... Quinn throws for over 300 yards before he takes a seat early in the fourth quarter ... Army has lost 12 in a row to the Fighting Irish, its last win coming in 1958. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 36-8-4.
The prediction: Notre Dame 40, Army 17 Record: 6-5
The date: Dec. 2
The opponent: Navy (in Philadelphia)
The skinny: The Midshipmen have beaten Army four years in a row by a combined score of 176-54. Ouch! And guess what? The 2006 edition of Navy may be the best under Navy coach Paul Johnson, A.K.A. the dean of service academy coaching ... There is good news: Army keeps it close. But Navy's well-oiled triple-option attack again proves too much.
The prediction: Navy 28, Army 17 Record: 6-6 (that makes Army bowl-eligible for the first time since 1996. We'll take it!)