Army bowl hopes still alive

Here we go again. Well, actually, let's hope not. Army is 3-3 through six games for the second straight season. Last year, Army collapsed during the second half, losing its last six games by a combined score of 162-72. Don't expect that to happen to the Black Knights this year.

Say what you want about the offense, but Army's 'D' and special teams have picked that struggling unit up. The 'O' will only get better. Plus, following the Miracle at Michie at Tulane last Saturday, there hasn't been a better vibe surrounding this team in a long time. Army scored a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl before last season, but the thought of the Black Knights playing in sunny San Diego never seemed realistic. Pardon us for getting excited, but Army reaching a bowl game this year seems much more doable.

The offense has been dogged and so has new Army coach Stan Brock. But, thus far, Brock deserves credit. A Bobby Ross likely wouldn't have had the fortitude to score the Tulane comeback win. The modest Brock is on his way to becoming a West Point hero and he would be viewed as the messiah if he could lead Army to its first bowl bid since the glorious 1996 run. It won't be easy. The Black Knights' second half is dotted with difficult games.

ArmySports.com broke down the last six games to make a case that the Black Knights can play in a bowl game.

at Central Michigan, Oct. 13
The good news: Central Michigan is playing like the shell of the team that won the Mid-American Conference last year. After winning 10 games last year, the Chippewas are 3-3.
The bad news: Central Michigan is starting to heat up. The Chippewas have won two in a row, putting up a combined 93 points in wins over Northern Illinois and Ball State.
Winnability: A winnable game, especially coming off the "Green Wave" of the Tulane win.

at Georgia Tech, Oct. 20
The good news: Georgia Tech, which played for the ACC championship last year, is 3-3. The Yellow Jackets have lost three of their last four games, two by five points or less.
The bad news: Georgia Tech is still in the class of a Wake Forest or Boston College and will be favored over Army.
Winnability: Likely won't happen.

at Air Force, Nov. 3
The good news: Army seems to be in its best position to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 1996. And who says Army can't win in Colorado Springs? The Black Knights beat Air Force at home two year ago, albeit for the first time in almost three decades.
The bad news: Air Force (4-2) is playing much better than most expected. Remember what the Falcons did to Army last season?
Winnability: It could happen.

Rutgers, Nov. 9
The good news: It isn't West Virginia. But, seriously, Rutgers isn't the same team that became media darlings last year. The Scarlet Knights are 3-2, losing to Maryland and Cincinnati. Let's not forget: Army is 3-0 at home.
The bad news: Five words: Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice. Rice has rushed for 622 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. Winnability: We wouldn't have said this before the season, but, hey, you never know.

Tulsa, Nov. 17
The good news: Tulsa comes in at the perfect time of year for Army. Let's hope for a wet and chilly day at Michie. Tulsa (3-2) has given up 110 points in two losses this year.
The bad news: Tulsa is one of the most underrated teams in the country. Quarterback Paul Smith is a weapon, throwing for 1,444 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. First year Tulsa coach Todd Graham led Rice to a blowout win over Army last year.
Winnability: This is a potential 'W'.

Navy, Dec. 1 (Baltimore)
The good news: We've figured Army could give Navy a run the past few seasons, but it never happened. This could be the year. Navy is 3-2, its triple option offense is getting going, but the defense still has some question marks.
The bad news: Navy has beaten Army five years in a row by a combined score of 202-68. The Midshipmen's option could go off at any minute. Navy coach Paul Johnson outcoached Bobby Ross during his three-year tenure.
Winnability: Yes, sir.

In closing, five of Army's last six games are winnable by our standards. Maybe San Diego is in the cards after all.


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