2. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights could easily be in the top spot on this list. In fact, the top three teams are just about equal. Rutgers went 11-2 last season and beat Kansas State in the Texas Bowl, earning the school's first bowl win. While Army is trying to find a running back, Rutgers rolls out a Heisman Trophy candidate in Ray Rice. Rice rushed for 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore last year.
3. Georgia Tech: Another ACC power that will come in as an overwhelming favorite, at home, no less. Too bad Bobby Ross didn't bolt West Point for Lexington, Va.. Maybe the Yellow Jackets would take it easier on Army if he was wearing the head set instead of one Stan Brock. Anyway, Georgia Tech went 8-5 last year and lost to West Virginia 38-35 in the Gator Bowl.
4. Boston College: Wake, Tech, BC, wasn't Florida State available? The Black Knights could have traveled to Tallahassee, too. In case you didn't pick up on the sarcasm, this is another tough game. The Eagles haven't had a losing season since 1998 and have played in seven bowl games in the last seven years. BC beat Navy 25-24 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season.
5. Navy: The way Army has handed it to our proud Black Knights, maybe the Mids should be No. 1. Oh yeah, we forgot, Navy blew it against BC. If only our Black Knights could play the Eagles that tight. Back to the stat that matters: Navy has beaten Army five years in a row by a combined score of 202-68.
6. Tulsa: A program on the rise. Tulsa went 8-5 last year, losing to Utah 25-12 in the Armed Force Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. As we've mentioned before, Todd Graham is Tulsa's new coach. And even though you are sick of hearing it, Graham coached Rice last year, which smoked the Black Knights 48-14. Hey, at least, Graham isn't bringing that quarterback that beat up on Army last season.
7. Central Michigan: One of the best teams in the country the average college football fan hasn't heard of.
But we on the board know how good Central Michigan is. In case you missed it, Central Michigan went 10-4 last year and beat Middle Tennessee State 31-14 in the Motor City Bowl. It served as Central Michigan's first-ever bowl win.
8. Air Force: Many college football forecasters are predicting an abysmal season for the Falcons this season.
We don't see it that way and by no means is a trip to Colorado Springs ever a breeze for Army. Air Force went 4-8 last season and has not had a winning season since 2003. Still, we think new coach Troy Calhoun's mix of the spread and some triple option will work well for the Falcons.
9. Akron: Another tough opener, especially since its on the road in Cleveland. But a winnable game, just like Arkansas State last season. Let's just hope Army gets some breaks this time.
10. Tulane: It's sad when an opponent ranked this low can cause so many problems. Hopefully, we get a nice cold day at Michie Stadium when Tulane comes in. The Green Wave racked up a 42-28 win over Army last year in one of its few bright spots of the year. Tulane coach Chris Scelfo was fired after the season and replaced by former UCLA coach Bob Toledo.
11. Temple: Another terrible, T, at least, that's what we hope. Many swear coach Al Golden will turn this team around.
For now, Temple is a notch below on the college football food chain. Golden is trying to rebuild a program that has been dead for decades. Coach Jerry Berndt led the Owls to their last winning season in 1990 (7-4). Temple joined the Big East in '91 and fell into a downward spiral. The Owls couldn't compete in the league
During 14 years in the Big East, Temple won three games once (1997) and went winless six times. The Owls left the Big East with a 14-80 record. Berndt was 11-33 as a coach. He was followed by Ron Dickerson (8-47 from 1993-97) and Bobby Wallace (19-71 from 1998-2005). Temple went 0-11 in Wallaces's last season.
12. Rhode Island: A mediocre Division I-AA team. We aren't expecting 62-7, VMI style. But we'll take 35-7.