This afternoon the Black Knights of Army (2-9) and the Navy Midshipmen (7-4) take the field in Philadelphia for their 113th meeting on CBS at 2pm CT. (The game will also be carried online at CBSSports.com.)
This year's graduating class at Navy stands to be the eighth consecutive class of Midshipmen to go 4-0 against Army as Navy brings a ten-game winning streak into the game. Army hopes to spoil that while becoming the first Army team to beat Navy since 2001.
(That's right - the last time Army won, Frank Solich was leading Nebraska to their highly contested and ultimately disappointing BCS title game berth in the Rose Bowl.)
By virtue of both teams beating Air Force earlier in the season, the winner of this game will also take home the Commander in Chief trophy, awarded to the top service academy following a football round-robin schedule. Air Force has possessed the trophy since 2010.
Looking closer, Army has won two of their last fifteen meetings against Navy. Navy took the lead in the series in 2005 and now leads 56-49-7. Since their last win, Army has been helmed by five coaches since 2001 (currently Rich Ellerson) while Navy has had only two coaches: Paul Johnson and Ken Niumatalolo.
Both teams run offenses which heavily utilize the triple option, necessitated by the obvious talent restrictions resulting from the standards of admission at both schools. (Their players aren't headed to the NFL.)
This is a rivalry built on respect. Respect not only for the game itself but their fellow competitors.
These men (and their fellow cadets and midshipmen) will one day serve around the world in service to our country.
This is Army-Navy and if you're not watching, you don't really like college football or America.
And the articles from yesterday:
Army-Navy (Saturday at 2pm CT, CBS)
GO NAVY. BEAT ARMY.
"When you talk about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry in the Iron Bowl, yeah, that’s a big rivalry, and there’s hatred and a little history to it," French said this week. "But that’s in-state." He added: "When you talk about Army-Navy, you’re talking about guys and gals serving our country around the world. If you watch it, you can see a difference. It’s not based on hatred. The rivalry is based on the love of the game."
There is no rivalry like it.
Seriously, Army's uniforms are awesome.
For the Army-Navy game today, it's hard to overstate how important the game is to the two schools. I've lived in Alabama and seen the Iron Bowl atmosphere up close. I was raised in Big Ten country, and know all about Ohio State and Michigan. But I've experienced Army-Navy from the inside, and from the bottom of my shoes I am telling you that it is very different. The quality of the football may not be as good as you'll find in other big rivalry games, but the quality of the effort and desire is unmatched, and it extends to every cadet and midshipman at either academy. There is nothing else on the line but this one game -- no rankings, no bowl invitations, no shots at national championships. But I guarantee that everybody at West Point will see the 2012 season as a success if they leave Philadelphia on Saturday with an Army victory. Same for the folks at Annapolis.
If you're not moved by Army-Navy, I'm not sure you have a soul.
When all else fails, just enjoy the game.
Consider this your open thread for the Greatest Rivalry game ever.
I'm watching with family but remember:
GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY.
And thank you, as always, to our men and women in uniform.
-Salt Creek and Stadium