What It Means to Beat Kent State

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So Army secured their sixth win of the season which will very likely include the reward of a trip to some bowl somewhere - all of which is a significant achievement for the Black Knights and fulfillment of one of the season's biggest goals.

The thing is - nothing is in hand yet. No bowl bid, no winning season, and only the most basic of the season's goals and as of right now - only by the slimmest of margins.

3. Banner year for the service academies. Army (6-4) became bowl eligible for the first time since 1996 after beating Kent State 45-28, joining Navy and Air Force in going to a bowl game this year. Army, Navy and Air Force have never played in a bowl game in the same season. Army does not have a bowl tie-in but is a backup for the Armed Forces Bowl and Military Bowl, while Navy (7-3) is headed to the Poinsettia Bowl and Air Force will go to a Mountain West tie-in.

Which is not to diminish what the 2010 Army team has done so far, 6 wins is more than the team was able to do in Rich Ellerson's first year, but at this point not a whole lot to gloat about.

On a November Saturday that was just perfect for football, the Army Black Knights played their best game of the season, rushing for 223 yards and six touchdowns while defeating Kent State 45-28 before 17,222 fans at Dix Stadium.

If that was truly Army's best effort things aren't looking so good for next week's game against a Notre Dame. Consistent, frustrating defensive lapses kept the Golden Flashes in a game that Kent State could realistically have been shut out of. 

The bowl forecast? Murky, but mostly optimistic.

I'm not going to go too far into guessing what teams will finish where, but you have to like Army's chances to land their first bowl bid in 14 years.

I now count 54 teams that are already bowl eligible with another 14 at either 5-4 or 5-5 (including teams like Pitt, Cal, SMU, Notre Dame, BYU and Houston that all have pretty good chances of getting there). That's 68 teams for the 70 available bowl slots.

Looking ahead and looking at things like W/L record, probable wins, and likely bowl games despite all of the current confusion is a lot easier than finding an immediate answer to Army's problems on the defensive side of the ball in pass coverage. With 5-5 Notre Dame ahead at Yankee Stadium, defending the passing attack is clearly the biggest concern at this point. Win or lose, the bowl thing will work itself out, but beating Notre Dame at new Yankee Stadium will earn the Black Knights a lot more than a bowl berth. Now two years in, Rich Ellerson is still looking for that signature win. If Army wants to start stacking up against the likes of Navy - or even Air Force for that matter, following Navy's example and making a habit of embarrasing the Irish becomes the next coveted step for Ellerson's body of work at Army.

Six wins for Army, ok great they got 'em. Does Army lay down at Yankee Stadium and wait for a bowl bid?.. or do they line up against Notre Dame and take a bowl bid?

We know the response, but now we wait to see the result.

Here's your Army/Kent State story and stats.




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