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When we talk Army football, we're not talking National Title expectations or any other lofty goals in any given season. First and foremost each football season for Army, their number one goal going in is to beat Navy and Air Force and to win the Commander in Chief's Trophy. Even a winless season in which Army were to beat Navy in the annual Army-Navy game, would be a partial success. Aside from the service academy games, the next goal for the Cadets would be to win 6 games and go to a Bowl game.
So, with those modest goals in mind, how does the 2014 Amy football season look? Well, there's certainly reason to be optimistic heading into this year. Let's start with their new head coach. Typically, a new head coach in his first year with a team isn't an ideal situation for a team looking to improve their win totals from the previous year. It takes time for a new coach to implement his schemes and put his stamp on a team. But in this case, there won't be new schemes. Army of course, runs the option and they went out and hired one of the best up and coming option coaches in the country, Jeff Monken from Georgia Southern. Monken was an assistant coach at both Navy and Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson, one the the premier option coaches in the nation.
Army is loaded with returning starters from a year ago with 17 coming back and an equal number on both sides of the ball. So the next thing we want to look at is how far away were they last season? If a team was blown out in the majority of their games, then we'd say the gap is simply too large to close significantly in just one season. However, that's not the case with Army. We could probably point to one game from last year that suggests they can improve drastically this year, and that would be losing to #5 Stanford by just two TD's in a game in which they trailed by just 7 at the half and didn't lose a single quarter by more than a TD. If they can play that way against one of the top teams in the nation, they can play that way against any team on their 2014 dance card.
Looking at their schedule, you can go ahead and give Army wins over Yale and Fordham. Western Kentucky and Air Force are certainly winnable games. As are UCONN, Wake Forest, Kent State and even Navy. That's 8 games Army can potentially win. While it's doubtful they win 8, it's not at all out of the question for the Cadets to win 5 or 6. Maybe even throw in an upset in one of their other games not mentioned here. The only game you'd look at and say no way, is the Stanford game.
They'll likely have to beat Buffalo or Wake Forest, who they play in weeks 1 and 3, if they're going to have a chance to win 6 and make it to a bowl. If they can win 3 games before they head into their final 3 game stretch against Western Kentucky, Fordham and Navy then it may very well come down to the Army/Navy game to determine whether Army plays in a bowl game this year, which would certainly add a little juice to that early December meeting.
2014 Army Schedule
09/06/14 vs. Buffalo TV West Point, N.Y. 12:00 p.m. ET
09/13/14 at Stanford Stanford, Calif. TBA
09/20/14 at Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C. TBA
09/27/14 at Yale New Haven, Conn. TBA
10/04/14 vs. Ball State TV West Point, N.Y. 12:00 p.m. ET
10/11/14 vs. Rice TV West Point, N.Y. 12:00 p.m. ET
10/18/14 at Kent State Kent, Ohio TBA
11/01/14 vs. Air Force TV West Point, N.Y. TBA
11/08/14 vs. Connecticut Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y. 3:30 p.m. ET
11/15/14 at Western Kentucky Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
11/22/14 vs. Fordham TV West Point, N.Y. 12:00 p.m. ET
12/13/14 vs. Navy TV Baltimore, Md. 3:00 p.m. ET
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