Army goes bowling on Saturday

Mark it down. Army is going to a bowl game this season. In fact, the Black Knights don't even have to win a game to get there. Army and Akron meet Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium in the first Patriot Bowl.

The Patriot Bowl will serve as an annual college football game that features a Mid-American Conference team from Ohio and one of the three service academies - Army, Navy or Air Force. It might not be the Independence Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl, but at least Army, the armed forces and all the men and women serving overseas will have a chance to be honored. A win over Akron, which is possible, would make for a special night.

The Patriot Bowl will have a New Year's Day-like bowl feeling to it. There will be patriotic events and this year features a pre-game flag football game that will pit the Cleveland Firefighters vs. Cleveland Police.

"If past events put on by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is a barometer, the Patriot Bowl will be a success and a great experience for the teams and fans," said Akron athletics director Mack Rhoades. "Not only do we have the opportunity to face a storied program like Army, but we are proud to represent the Mid-American conference in this game. This event will be first class, gives our fans a great environment to participate in a number of game-day activities and gives our student-athletes the opportunity to play in Browns Stadium, which is one of the finest venues around."

The winner of the Patriot Bowl even be awarded a Trophy. When Army knocks off Akron, it will claim the "Cleary Trophy", named after Michael Cleary, long-time Executive Director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in recognition of his lasting service to the Cleveland community, collegiate athletics and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

It might not be as nice as the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy Army will be awarded later in the year, but it's a start.

"We're excited about the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Patriot Bowl," said Army athletic director Kevin Anderson. "It's always a thrill being a part of a tremendous event the first time it is held and we feel very strongly that the Patriot Bowl will be a highly popular event with the people here in this great city of Cleveland. We view this as an outstanding opportunity to showcase our institution and our cadet-athletes on a national forum."

Even better, the Patriot Bowl is an Akron home game, not an Army one a la last year when the Black Knights' played a "home" game against Texas A&M in San Antonio. This could turn out to be a great spring board into the season for our Black Knights.

A party-like, bowl-like atmosphere. Our proud Army team being appreciated and honored by Cleveland, along with Akron, respectively. What is really going to help is that win over the Akron Zips.

Go Army!
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