Blog Entry 120 -- Army and Duke

Posted on: October 12, 2009 1:19 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2009 9:00 pm

Loveable losers are losers no more.

Two historically bad programs -- Army and Duke -- both earned big victories this weekend to improve to 3-3 and get their schools and fan bases to start thinking about the unthinkable ... a bowl game.

Army knocked off Vanderbilt 16-13 in overtime to move up to No. 86 in the latest 120 . It was the first time Army beat a SEC team since 1988, ironically, when it beat the Commodores.

First-year coach Rich Ellerson already has the team with the same number of wins as they finished with the last three seasons at 3-9 and is eyeing more.

Army coach Rich Ellerson. (AP) The Black Knights haven't been to a bowl since going 10-2 and playing Auburn in the Independence Bowl in 1996. It was the last time they had a winning record, but with a remaining schedule featuring Temple, VMI and North Texas, the Black Knights hope to get to 6-6 and earn an EagleBank Bowl invite.

The EagleBank Bowl  signed a deal with the Black Knights that if they become bowl-eligible, they will play in Washington D.C. against an ACC team.

The defense has been playing fantastic and ranks 28th in the nation in total yards allowed and is 41st in the nation in points allowed.

Linebacker Stephen Anderson leads the team with 51 tackles, including 31 solo, while safety Donovan Travis is tied for second in the NCAA with four interceptions. Defensive lineman Josh McNary is fourth in the nation in tackles for a loss with 11.5.

"If our defense will play like they have been playing, we'll have a chance every week. We played well and have done a good job of building a fence around our opponents' offense," added Ellerson. "We have some play-makers and some guys that do a beautiful job of clearing because the other team makes plays and gets themselves in scoring position, but we don't freak out. We just reload and play the next play."

One of the team's Army actually lost to earlier in the year is also making waves in the ACC.

Duke scored a huge upset on the road against N.C. State, ending a 20-game conference road losing streak. Many thought the Wolfpack would be one of the favorites in the Atlantic Division, but the Blue Devils racked up 49 points and Thad Lewis threw for a career-high 459 yards and five touchdowns.

The Blue Devils moved up to No. 67 in the 120 rankings this week.

"It's kind of surreal," head coach David Cutcliffe said to the Winston-Salem Journal. "We haven't felt this way in a long time at Duke."

The last time Duke had a winning record was in 1994 when it went 8-4 and lost to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl.

Things start to get much tougher for the Blue Devils with North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and Wake Forest on the horizon.

"All you got to do is look at what happened last year in the ACC. The ball can bounce a lot of ways. There is a lot of football left to be played. Anybody can beat anybody in this league."


... Speaking of losing teams, there are now seven winless teams remaining. Three of the teams are in the MAC -- Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Michigan. Two are Sun Belt squads (Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky).

... SMU made a big jump in the rankings this week, leaping from No. 104 to No. 68 after beating East Carolina. June Jones has his team on the right track and at 2-0 in Conference USA, the Mustangs might be headed to their first bowl since the 1984 Aloha Bowl.

... Georgia took a big drop, falling to No. 47 after getting smoked against Tennessee. The Bulldogs are 3-3 and still have to play Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech.

... Middle of the road: With 120 teams, Marshall checks in at No. 60 at 4-2. There are about as close as you can get to being the most average team in the nation as their strength of schedule is 65th.

... Of all the teams in the Top 25, Virginia Tech's strength of schedule still ranks No. 1. Having played Alabama, Nebraska and Miami (Fla.) pushed its schedule to No. 1. It should start to get weaker with games vs. Maryland, N.C. State and Virginia to close out the season.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Oct 2, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2009 1:48 pm 120 -- Army and Duke

thats what i was thinking!

Since: Oct 14, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2009 12:09 pm 120 -- Army and Duke

Great article Mr. Darst. I often wonder why Army has not been able to replicate the same success that Navy has been able to lately. I understand the triple option system Navy runs can win some games, but they have the same quality student athletes that the Midshipmen have, but just havent been as successful.

Great start Army, Keep it up!

Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2009 9:31 am 120 -- Army and Duke

come on... duke beat NC Central and ARMY!!! the state win is nice, but state isnt any good, either. they lost to richmond........

and army has beaten E. Michigan, Ball St, and Vanderbilt(three bottom-dwellers)

neither team has beaten an opponent of consequence. nc state is the only victory over a team that could make a bowl game.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2009 4:53 am 120 -- Army and Duke

Darin- Good looking out on Army! 

Since: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:47 pm 120 -- Army and Duke

I'm neither.

No excuses, that's on me. Doing too many things at once today. No moral victories here, we'll get better next week.

Best part of the whole article is when the CBS contributer admits his downfall and lets the reader know he will actually try better with his grammar and writting the next go around.  Simply mind blowing from a CBS writter.  On to the point, Army football players (as well as the other service academies) sort of have bigger things to worry about than just football.  I love watching all of the academies play competition that is on par with the level of NCAA athlete that will commit to something bigger than himself at their school.  I would love to see Army in a bowl game and Duke as well.  Being an Army veteran and Duke basketball fan, this article really put a smile on my face.  Also, it's pretty cool to see the old man at GT showing the nation what elite athletes can do in a "military academy" style offense.  God loves the triple option!  GO ARMY!  BEAT NAVY!

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2009 11:35 am 120 -- Army and Duke

USNA95, I'm an 89 grad. I was being sarcastic. We have a pretty tough schedule and play well against ranked teams, sometimes beating them. It's been fantastic to actually look forward to football season with excitement for the last 6 or 7 years instead of gloomy resignation. During my 4 years there we won something like 8 games. One of the worst 4 years stretches ever (at least we beat Army my plebe year).

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2009 11:28 am 120 -- Army and Duke

I being sarcastic. I went to Navy and we do have some patty cake games but we schedule about 50% of them with some tough FBS opponents too.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2009 11:26 am 120 -- Army and Duke

You're right, Army has a better chance than Duke for a bowl because they are guaranteed one if they get 6 wins. I see your point though, to even bring up the word 'bowl' in the same sentence as 'Army' after 6 games is a shocker. Aside from N Texas and VMI, games they should win, their best chance is against Temple this weekend even though they are a 9 point underdog.
It takes a long time to perfect running the triple option so they will get better as the season goes on. I just don't see it in in the cards for them this season though. I hope I'm wrong but I really don't expect them to start bowling until next year.

Since: Oct 12, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2009 11:00 am 120 -- Army and Duke

I think Army has a chance if they pull out some mircale plays during one of the four games.  If Army can hold it close against Temple and pull off a win i think they will get to 6-6.  This is why you play the game.  Rutgers will blow them out but with Temple, Air Force, VMI, North Texas and Navy the rest of the way.  3 wins is possible.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2009 10:33 am 120 -- Army and Duke

I always enjoy Darst, but I would like to ask him and his proofreaders to not add to the avalanche of poor writing and poorer speaking in dropping the "n" from the article a when it precedes a vowel.  When I first read "a SEC team" at the start of the article, I shrugged that one off.  After all, it can be correct or just a that the fully written from would be a Southeastern Conference team".  But when a little later on, JD said "a EagleBank Bowl invite..." then I knew,  Maybe Mr. Darst is a very good sportswriter but not such a good grammarian.  Frankly, I find this an appalling possiblity.  Journalists should be leaders in the proper use of our language.  Watch it in the future please man.


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