Oct. 3 Tulane- Few Army fans will forget the surprising 44-13 spanking that Army administered to Tulane last season. With the Green Wave coming to West Point Army fans are probably excited about the possibility of another Army blowout. Tulane, coached by Bob Toledo, returns 53 lettermen including seven offensive starters and six defensive regulars. Running back Andre Anderson is one of Tulane's top returning starters. He rushed for almost 900 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Wide receiver Jeremy Williams is another great player for the Green Wave. He caught 27 passes last season for 437 yards and 5 touchdowns. On defense the Greenies are led by tackle Reggie Scott and end Logan Kelley. The two combined for 59 tackles and 9 sacks last season.
Thoughts: Tulane will have a good team but Army should be able to run on them. In their last two games of '08 the Greenies gave up over 900 yards rushing to Memphis and Tulsa. With Army in possession of a true triple option and option coaches they should be able to exploit the Tulane defense.
Prediction: Army 28 Tulane 17.
Oct. 10 Vanderbilt- Army fans may be tired of losing but imagine what it would be like to root for Vanderbilt. The Commodores went from 1982 until 2008 without a winning season or bowl. They finally ended that streak with a win over Boston College on New Years Eve in the Music City Bowl. Bobby Johnson is back for his eighth season as head coach at Vandy. The Commodores return 46 lettermen including 8 offensive starters and 9 defensive starters. Vandy's best player on offense in tight end Brandon Barden who caught 28 passes last season as a red shirt freshman. He will have either sophomore quarterback Larry Smith or veteran senior Mackenzi Adams throwing to him. Vanderbilt, which finished the 2008 season 7-6, returns their entire offensive line led by tackle NFL prospect Thomas Welch. On defense Vandy has All-American candidate cornerback Myron Lewis back. He had five interceptions last year.
Thoughts: This will be a tough game for Army. Vandy will be the most physical team Army will face. Additionally, Vanderbilt's Johnson is familiar with defending the triple option as he coached at Furman before coming to Vandy and regularly faced Paul Johnson's former Georgia Southern team.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 24 Army 16.
Oct. 17 at Temple- The Owls got Army's misery started last season with a 35-7 victory at West Point. Coach Al Golden has improved the Owls competitiveness since taking over the downtrodden program four years ago. This season Temple returns 51 lettermen including 6 starters on offense and 9 on defense. Temple's best players on defense are defensive tackle Andre Neblett and cornerback Jamal Schulters. Neblett had a sack and 6.5 tackles for loss in '08. Schulters had 71 tackles, broke up 7 passes and picked off three. Offensive guard Colin Madison (6-4, 310, Jr.) and wide receiver Jason Harper are the leaders on the Owl offense. Harper had 33 catches for three scores last season.
Thoughts: Who knows what state either team will be in by the time we get to week 7. However, you've got to think the Army players remember that terrible opener last season; they'll be motivated for sure.
Prediction: Army 17 Temple 13.
Oct. 24 Rutgers- Last year Rutgers drilled Army, 30-3, over in the Garden State. The Scarlet Knights have done what the Black Knights would like to do. They've turned a losing program into a winner and have now been to four straight bowl games. Greg Schiano returns for his ninth season at Rutgers and has 47 lettermen, 7 offensive starters and 6 defensive starters back for the 2009 season. Rutgers lost stellar quarterback Mike Teel but has five very good starting offensive linemen returning. They also have wide receiver Tim Brown back who caught 27 passes last season. On defense the Scarlet Knights have senior linebacker Ryan D'Imperio back. He had 93 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 7 tackles for losses and an interception last season.
Thoughts: This will be Army second toughest opponent of the year but sometimes good things happen at Michie Stadium when Army's the underdog but maybe not this year.
Prediction: Rutgers 24 Army 13.