Looking at the bye week and beyond.

This weekend just won't be the same for many Army football fans. Their beloved black and gold have a bye week, which they probably could use.While the Black Knights refresh themselves, the Army faithful think ahead to Rutgers or, possibly, are starting to think about the showdown with Navy next month. We at armysports.com are looking even further down the road to 2009.

With Army off this week, we decided to analyze how its 2009 opponents are faring this season. If '09 is to be the turn around year for Army, we at least have to know what we are facing next fall.

Sept. 5 at Eastern Michigan
This is definitely a winnable opener. Army overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit to beat Eastern Michigan 17-13 on Oct. 11. Eastern Michigan is 2-8 this season and on a four-game losing streak.

Sept. 12 Duke
Duke is not the lowly program it once was as new coach David Cutcliffe, Peyton and Eli Manning's former mentor, has helped the program. Still, Army fans could be talking about a 2-0 start. Duke is 4-5 this year, just one season after going 1-11.

Sept. 19 Ball State
At 10-0, Ball State is one of the biggest surprises in college football this season. As one of five undefeated teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Ball State, ranked 14th, is drawing closer to a BCS bowl berth.

Sept. 26 at Iowa State
Continues to have trouble rebuilding. After starting the season with wins over South Dakota State and Kent State, the Cyclones have lost eight in a row. Army will be in this game, no question.

Oct. 3 Tulane
The Black Knights go for a third straight win against the Green Wave. Army's last two wins over Tulane have been quite different. The Black Knights beat Tulane 20-17 in overtime last season and blew out the Green Wave 44-13 on Oct. 4. Tulane is 2-7 this year and has lost five in a row.

Oct. 10 Vanderbilt
One of the best stories in the SEC this fall has lost some steam as Vandy has lost four in a row after opening the year 5-0. But the Commodores are still trying to get into a bowl game.

Oct. 17 at Temple
Army better play better against the Owls than it did during this year's season opener. Temple throttled the Black Knights 42-7 and Army would go on to start the year 0-4. The Owls are 3-6 this season, but four of their losses have come by six points or less.

Oct. 24 Rutgers
Army will actually gets its first look at the Scarlet Knights in South Jersey next week. Expect Rutgers to be at least as good as this year's version next year. After starting the season 1-5, Rutgers has won three in a row.

Nov. 7 at Air Force
Some Army fans probably still haven't gotten over the 16-7 loss to the Falcons just two weeks ago.The Black Knights could have won that game. Going to Colorado Springs is usually a different proposition for Army, which has won there just twice in the last 30 years. Air Force is still flying high, 8-2 this year with No. 17 BYU this week.

Nov. 14 VMI
VMI is a struggling Division I-AA program just 3-6 this year and without a .500 season since 2003. The Army third-stringers could see action in this one.

Nov. 21 at North Texas
If not for a 51-40 win over Western Kentucky earlier this month, North Texas would be winless. North Texas has given up at least 35 points in every game this season and allowed 77 to Rice.

Dec. 5, Navy (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Let's hope leading into this game fans and the media are talking about Army going for its second straight win over Navy.As it stands now, the Midshipmen have taken six in a row from the Black Knights. Navy is 6-3 this year, bowl eligible again, under first-year coach Ken Niumatalolo.


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