Two teams come into this game needing a win. BC is favored, but they are facing an unconventional Army squad. To get a better feel for what to expect, I asked Army blogger The Unbalanced Line about the Cadets. My questions and his answers follow.
1. After losing two close games to FBS opponents, Army lost soundly to FCS Stony Brook. What happened and how were the games against Wake and Northern Illinois different?
The Unbalanced Line: This season has been a bad one for Army - particularly for the defense. There hasn't been a single game where the defense could get a stop when they needed it. Army gives up 474.75 yards per game which is 1899 total yards through 4 games. When you factor in that Army opponents have almost 1900 yards on only 252 plays (that's 7.54 yards per play!) Army can play for time of possession all they want, but unless the Black Knights score 50 they will get blown out.
Army hasn't been able to stop anyone - San Diego State, Wake Forest and even Stony Brook pushed around Army's defense. It starts to get ugly when you add in offensive miscues like turnovers and penalties. Against Wake Forest Army was -1 in turnover margin and lost by twelve (37-49). Vs Stony Brook Army was -3 in turnover margin and
lost 23-3. Against Northern Illinois Army hung around in a 41-40 loss, due in part to three turnovers by NIU.
With a defense playing as bad as Army's has been, the Black Knights' need to dominate in every other phase just to get in a position to steal a game away.
2. How is Army's offense different from the ones BC would be more familiar with like Georgia Tech and Navy?
The Unbalanced Line: Navy and Georgia Tech mainly run out of a Flexbone set. Army uses the Flexbone too... sort of. The Cadets are unique in that they implement a hurry-up offense to their game plan. I like to call it the "Hurry-up-and-wait". Normally after an offensive play the team hurries to line up in a regular Flexbone style set, QB looks over the defense begins his cadence and then steps out from under center and the whole platoon looks to the Army sideline for the play. I've noticed that when they line back up the flexbone formation morphs into a T-form or Wing-T. I don't know whether that is on purpose or subconscious thing that the backs do. The most notable facet of Army's offense besides the hurry-up gamesmanship is a nifty inside trap counter that routinely gashes defenses. The only problem with that play is it needs to be set up with a slowly developing outside pitch that has a lot less success.
3. BC used to play Army regularly but haven't been to Michie since 2000. For BC fans making their first trip, what do you recommend as part of the Army Football experience. What should they make an effort to see while on campus?
The Unbalanced Line: The leaves are probably just starting to change color, so anywhere you walk, on or off campus, the sights should be nice to take in.
At 9:00 AM on The Plain is the cadet review - if you plan on going early, the parade is one of those things that demonstrates West Point's living history. Another cool historical element of the festivities is the West Point Band, which traces its history back to the Revolutionary War.
If you would rather hit some bars, stay south of campus. You can always watch the band and cadets march into the stadium at 11:40 prior to kickoff.
4. What is your prediction for the game?
The Unbalanced Line: I've got no confidence in Army's defense and the Eagles have a host of mismatches on Army's D. I expect Boston College to score 14 points for every 4 or 5 for Army. Now, I'm not going to say it will be 54-16 Boston College, but will take Boston College -9.5 all day long.