Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 4 Army
Location: West Point, N.Y.
Nickname: Black Knights/Cadets.
Coach: Stan Brock, 3-9, second season.
Division I-A history: 633-440-51 in 118 seasons, .585 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 1996.
Best record in last five years: 4-7 in 2005.
Rank(ed) because: This seems harsh and especially disrespectful of our service men and women (hey, at least Navy and Air Force avoided the Bottom 25). However, for a program that produced Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside, a program that has won 58% of its games, Army has fallen on hard times. Since a glorious 10-2 season in 1996, the Cadets are 27-99 over the last 11 seasons.
Negative number: 21 victories over the last 11 seasons against Division I-A teams.
Possible victory: New Hampshire, Sept. 6. The Division I-AA foe won't be a pushover so if the Cadets can't bag this win they might not have another chance at avoiding a winless season.
Biggest blowout: At Rutgers, Nov. 22. This is the game before Army faces rival Navy. The Cadets will have a week off before facing the Midshipmen but it's hard to imagine they won't be peeking ahead at the schedule. Also, this late in the season morale could be low if the win column is lonely.
Is there hope?: Brock kept the lid tight during spring practice because Army was installing a new option-based offense. it would seem that a struggling program would be interested in fostering attention instead of avoiding it. Brock said he was banning fans and media from spring practices to better foster a sense of teamwork. Whatever. Navy and Air Force have been successful with option offenses. A strong running game was Army's calling card during the 10-2 season in 1996. With a softer schedule and a running game, the Cadets might start to reverse their losing ways.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.