It might seem cold to not devote lavish praise to Corey Anderson for his spectacular touchdown play in the second quarter.
It might seem legitimately mean to not place emphasis on the overall excellence of Army's skill-position players, particularly the flankers, who performed with distinction--and consistently so--throughout a night when the Black Knights showed real potency and quick-strike capability on offense.
Yes, paragraphs and paragraphs of verbal bouquets--while merited by the Black Knights for their superb performance against the Aggies--will not be tossed in their direction.
Why? Two words: Iowa State.
Indeed, we saw this picture last season, as Army maxed out in a big way against a Big XII opponent that had plenty of weapons and the physical advantage with which to maximize it. Seemingly outgunned and outmanned before kickoff, Army outplayed Iowa State and won every aspect of the game except the final scoreboard tally. The loss hurt, but at the same time, it seemed that the near-upset of the Cyclones would translate into a bigger, better year for the Brave Old Army Team.
Well, a four-win year was an improvement for the Black Knights, but in the same breath, the team was not able to play with the level of quality displayed against Iowa State. Had Bobby Ross' team gamed at that lofty height for the rest of 2005, a bowl invite would have been handed to the boys of West Point.
Thus, the emphasis coming out of this A&M game can't be on the good things done in the past tense; the focus must be placed on the rest of the season, and specifically, on maintaining this level of performance, this amount of poise, this degree of playmaking potency and open-field shiftiness from skill players. Bobby Ross has to get his players to spill their guts and demonstrate their skills for the rest of 2006. If this A&M game is repeated over the remainder of this football campaign, the Black Knights of the Hudson River will travel to the shores of the Pacific Ocean in December, for they'll find themselves in San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl.
Yes, it's so tempting to want to dwell on the memory of this near-upset of Texas A&M, a game in which Army performed so well. But as a famous world figure once said, "Lead us not into temptation." Army won't be playing in front of wild crowds of nearly 70,000 people (Notre Dame and Navy will be the exceptions) over the next two and a half months, so the Black Knights will have to find energy and motivation from within. If they do--and can make electric plays in the open field with the same consistency they showed against the Aggies--they'll live the impossible dream and make a bowl game.
The past is not something to be dwelt on with fondness for the Army football team this week; after a great performance against Texas A&M, the focus and emphasis must be devoted to sustaining this kind of effort for the rest of 2006.