Nov. 7 at Air Force- Last year Army gave Air Force a good fight before going down, 16-7. Head coach Troy Calhoun has built a solid program in two seasons at Colorado Springs. The Falcons, who finished 2008 with a record of 8-5, return 44 lettermen including 6 offensive and 6 defensive starters. Air Force's best offensive player is left guard Nick Charles. Charles is part of an offensive line that is considered one of the best in the Mountain West. On defense, tackle Ben Garland is the big playmaker. Garland had 39 tackles and 4 sacks last season. Linebacker Ken Lamendola and safety Chris Thomas are also two fine players for the Falcons.
Thoughts: This is a tough one but one bright spot is that AFA's weak link is their defensive line.
Prediction: Air Force 31 Army 27.
Nov. 14 VMI- Sparky Woods, former head coach at the University of South Carolina, returns for his second season at VMI. Last year the Keydets doubled their win total from the previous year and finished with a record of 4-7. VMI returns 41 lettermen including 9 starters on both sides of the ball. The Keydets run a spread option offense and led the Football Championship last year in rushing yards per game at 357.5 per contest. Quarterback Tim Maypray was voted 2009 Big South Conference Offensive Preseason Player of the Year. Linebacker A.J. Gross is one of the top players of the Keydet defensive unit and was voted Second Team All-Conference after leading the team with 67 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss.
Thoughts: This game won't be as easy as many Army fans think. Although they are not division I, Army had better be ready for VMI.
Prediction: Army 28 VMI 27.
Nov. 21 at North Texas- The Mean Green hired head coach Todd Dodge a couple years ago from the prep ranks and it just hasn't worked out. Dodge is just 3-21 going into this third season in Denton. North Texas returns 47 lettermen including 7 offensive and 9 defensive starters. Running back DuJuan Harris is the returning player on offense for the Mean Green. Harris rushed for 1,077 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. The North Texas quarterback will be red shirt freshman Riley Dodge who is the son of the head coach. Dodge was heavily recruited out of high school and also had an offer from the University of Texas. Linebacker Tobe Nwigwe is the top Green Mean defensive player. He led North Texas in tackles last year with 111. He also had 3 interceptions.
Thoughts: This could be a good football team but I have a feeling Army has the better college coach and will shred through the North Texas defense like Navy did a couple years ago (74-62).
Prediction: Army 42 North Texas 28.
Dec. 12 Navy- Navy has been on a tear the last several years in the CIC Trophy competition and has won seven in a row over Army. The ugly streak has to end eventually. My feeling is that with Rich Ellerson the light can finally be seen at the end of the tunnel. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs has great running ability but can also throw the ball very well. The question is, does he have a good enough supporting cast to continue the Navy domination? I think the answer is yes but I don't think the Mids will be as dominate as they've been in the past. They've Bobby Doyle coming back at slot back. He averaged 10 yards a carry a year ago but only had 16 carries. They've also got three of four of the offensive linemen back. Navy lost big nose guard Nate Frazier a couple weeks ago so that has to hurt them on defense. There's no way a team does not feel the affects of losing someone that dominant. However, they've got linebacker Ross Pospisil back who led the team in tackles last year with 106. Free safety Wyatt Middleton and linebacker Clint Sovie are also back.
Thoughts: The streak will be over soon but I don't think it's going to end this year. However, the score will be much closer this year than in the past.
Prediction: Navy 28 Army 24