It was only a few years ago when Army would have entered this game with a record identical to that of Air Force. Of course, times have changed.
Army (6-2) has won four consecutive games, and has attained bowl eligibility for the third year in a row, a first in team history, and shut out the Falcons last year by a score of 21-0. Air Force finds itself entrenched in fifth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference with a 3-5 record and is scrounging for a way to a bowl game.
Air Force still possesses a commanding 15-36-1 all-time head-to-head record against Army and has won eight of the last ten contests between the two academies. But there has been a role reversal, if you will, among the triple option scholars, as the Black Knights have won two bowl games in a row, and Air Force is just 8-12 dating back to last year.
Entering this game, Army owns the second-best rushing offense in the country, trailing only Georgia Tech in yards per game in that department, and ranks 29th in offensive efficiency, though quarterback Kelvin Hopkins and Co. will be facing an Air Force defense that ranks 16th against the run.
Other than their narrow overtime loss against Oklahoma, this will be Army’s greatest test of the season. Two teams virtually identical both ideologically and schematically are vying for a chance at the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, as Air Force already defeated Navy earlier this season. A win for Air Force would give the team its fifth such trophy in eight years, and if Army were to win, it would give the Knights a chance at their second straight trophy win, also a first in academy history.
As the case usually is, there is a lot on the line for both squads, and Michie Stadium will be host to a sellout crowd and a boisterous atmosphere that has reinvigorated West Point.