Northwestern at Army Internet Availability

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not much longer now...

Army/Northwestern Link Clearance

Rise Northwestern posted an older preview of the NU/Army game.

While it's always nice to see the opposing fans' viewpoint, some of the misconceptions and ill-perceptions about Army resurface in this one.

Last year Army rushed for 251.6 yards per game while scoring 26.6 points per game. These numbers are not in the upper, upper elite of the nation, by any stretch. Army still has a long way to go. But the Black Knights are getting better, and to look past them would be a mistake.
251.6 rush ypg is simply 8th in the nation in rushing. We know Army doesn't go for 500 total yards per contest, and it is still very early in the season, but even burning clock and slow-playing the option Army out gained all but seven teams in Div 1-A rushing. Am I calling Army "elite"?  No.  I'm saying that the Black Knights' yardage per game and game tempo clearly shows that Army's rushing offense is one of the elite run games in the NCAA. Army comes into this game with the #2 rush game in the NCAA averaging 353 yards after the first two weeks.

More troublesome than that - which is basically semantics regarding  the word "elite" is this very common misconception.

While Army's offense continues to improve, the defense is a matter of concern for the team. It gave up 338.2 yards per game last year, which is not so bad until you consider how long it might take for a triple option team like Army to hold onto the ball to score. Army's offense is not necessarily one you trust to make a late-game comeback.
(emphasis added)

Rich Ellerson's Army teams should be noted more for keeping games tight than mounting comebacks, but Army's ability to play from behind shouldn't be questioned either.

Anyway Rise Northwestern has merged with Lake the Posts making a nice Wildcats blog so go check them out before game time. L.T.P.'s Army preview can be found here.

 Bleacher Report has a nice Army/NU preview definitely worth a look.

The AP chimes in with their take on Army's 2011 team:

This isn't last year, when the Black Knights were third in the nation in turnover margin at plus-1.23 per game. They've turned the ball over three times in each of the first two games and are minus-2 per game in turnover margin. Against San Diego State, which was decided on a fourth-quarter field goal, Army lost three of eight fumbles.
No question that is Army's biggest problem moving forward this season.The question is if the defense can force its share of loose balls - in addition to Army showing some modicum of ball control. 

Northwestern has turned around 180 degrees from last year as well - their turnaround being of the positive variety.

First and foremost, Saturday will be an interesting test of the Cats' rush defense. NU struggled towards the end of the 2010 campaign, getting torched by myriad Wisconsin and Illinois running backs. In the first two games of the 2011 season, the Cats have looked far better, surrendering just 118 rushing yards per game.

Sal's gives us his take as well.

Should be a good one, I won't venture a prediction, but if you're stranded online you can check back here before game time for a thing.


News and Notes

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Black Knights have experimented with wild uniforms in recent games Navy-Army games. This year they go pro - Nike Pro Combat. I suppose the name is apropos, considering participants in Navy/Army games will likely be professional soldiers, but I really don't like that name for the semi-fashionable brand of uniforms.

We found out that Army and Navy will wear the stylized pro combat uniforms for the first time as more and more schools are being selected to highlight Nike's fashion and marketing.

For what it's worth Army's look decent - by that it is a subdued look from other camouflage getups they wore in prior Navy /Army games. The jersey numbers have a stenciled look, but other than that, it looks like a modest update of the traditional black gold and white. A photo album can be found on Nike Pro Combat's facebook page.

MetroWNY catches up with the Army season which I am only posting for their optimistic Trent Steelman update.
Starting quarterback Trent Steelman was pretty beat up after the San Diego State game. Steelman was the leading rusher on the team as he had a career day in yards. Steelman will be able to play on Saturday when they take on Northwestern.

“We expect him to be available,” said Ellerson. “How much we’re going to be able to do during the week with him, we’ll wait and see.”

Sal scoops all that stuff on his blog. Talk about pro. Don't miss his Army football chat, plenty of stuff in there.

Sal talks about Army's two most important offensive pieces dealing with injuries and gives us a word on past Wyoming Valley West (PA) recruit A.J. McGovern.

Hi Sal, Thanks for your coverage. Recruiting question for you. 2 years ago our top recruit according to sites like ESPN and Scout was a 3 star Center in AJ McGovern. I know he was at USMAPS last year and I was really surprised to see him not even on the roster this year. Any info on him???

Pat, appreciate the compliments, thanks. Sometimes, the scouting services are wrong. I believe McGovern is at West Point but not playing football. I just think McGovern's size doesn't fit the mold of a lineman Army is looking for right now
 Lastly, and FWIW, sprint football has a big game this weekend.
"Whenever Army and Navy compete, the venue becomes electric," Perkins said. "It was an epic battle before a packed stadium when they last met in Saratoga in 2007, and with Army's upset league victory against the Midshipmen in 2010, the Allegiance Bowl will undoubtedly be a showdown. We are anticipating an incredible game between two amazing teams."
If Army wins this sprint football game I will consider going back to calling the game Army/Navy.


Yearbook: Ohio University Athena

Ohio University's football history goes back to 1892,  (yearbook PDF),but the team didn't play their first intercollegiate football game until 1894.

Notable Bobcat achievements on the gridiron are few and far between. There was the 1962 Sun Bowl season, and there was an impressive run from 1929-1933, with Ohio U. stringing together 5 very nice seasons. Ohio's record during that early stretch was a commendable 36-6-1, and the Bobcats collected 3 Buckeye Athletic Association titles in those years. For me, Ohio U's most memorable moment came in 2005 at the expense of my Alma Mater.

Today, Bobcat athletics are still pestering Pitt - most recently in volleyball with yesterday's  24-26, 25-23, 20-25, 26-24, 21-19 five-set humbling of the Panthers.

Ohio's yearbooks are now online as the school's Athena yearbook has been made available by the Ohio University Library's Digital Initiatives project - hosted by the Internet Archive. It's a great look back in time at a nice old football club. Turn back the clock with the Ohio Athena, my latest addition to my ever growing yearbook collection.


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

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Blogpoll Week 4, or Whatever

Monday, September 12, 2011

   I feel pretty good about this ranking. You can try to sway me below in the comments.


SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings


The Unbalanced Line Ballot - Week 3

1Alabama Crimson TideArrow_up 3
2Stanford CardinalArrow_up 1
3Boise St. BroncosArrow_down -2
4Oklahoma SoonersArrow_up 2
5LSU TigersArrow_down -3
6Florida St. SeminolesArrow_up 1
7Nebraska CornhuskersArrow_down -2
8Arkansas RazorbacksArrow_up 1
9Florida GatorsArrow_up 1
10South Florida BullsArrow_up 1
11Virginia Tech HokiesArrow_down -3
12Oregon DucksArrow_up 7
13Texas A&M AggiesArrow_up 1
14Wisconsin BadgersArrow_down -2
15Texas LonghornsArrow_up 2
16Ohio St. BuckeyesArrow_down -1
17South Carolina Gamecocks--
18Tennessee VolunteersArrow_up 6
19Penn St. Nittany LionsArrow_down -6
20Mississippi St. BulldogsArrow_down -4
21Washington St. Cougars--
22West Virginia MountaineersArrow_up 1
23Central Florida KnightsArrow_down -1
24Georgia BulldogsArrow_up 1
25Auburn Tigers--
Dropouts: Missouri Tigers, Northern Illinois Huskies, Utah State Aggies
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Go Back to Mexico

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We're seeing a trend year to year with this Army team - the trend of gacking away winnable games. Army's at a point where they need to execute perfectly in all phases to compete the way the team is expected to compete, and when they don't - it's going to be bad news.

Army had stretches on Saturday where they competed and even bested San Diego State. This was exactly the kind of game that last year's Army team would come out of with a win. The way Army put the ball on the ground they gift-wrapped the game for the Aztecs.

For most the story was just that: Army needs to get a grip.

One year removed from owning the third-best turnover margin in the nation, the Black Knights committed eight fumbles, losing three, en route to a 23-20 loss Saturday vs. San Diego State, the first California opponent to visit Michie Stadium since 1980.

Not unlike last year, the team finds itself with all kinds of personnel problems. Steelman dinged up, down some linemen, and moving slotbacks to defense will test this team's resolve. Sal looks for a shakeup that would effect both sides of the ball.

Army needs Brian Cobbs, who opened the season as a slotback, to pick up on how to play cornerback again quick this week. Freshman Lamar Johnson-Harris, who made his first career start at cornerback, will play a role in Army’s future. But Johnson-Harris isn’t ready just yet. Cobbs entered West Point as a cornerback and was moved to slotback.

There is some justified bitterness over at Aztecs Killing Him, but the game's numbers weren't too far off of that site's prediction, so I don't know when their bump up in perception happened... certainly not between the opening kickoff and the final whistle. I think that those guys might be thinking this season out with last season's results.

San Diego State were the better team today,  but I can't help but think they got away with one of Army's wins.
At this point all we can do is wish the Aztecs well on their way back to where they came from and look to the next game.

Minus a fumble or eight this game would probably be a different Story.

Here are the game's Stats and Highlights


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