We're hunting Falcons with the Natives again and today it's with the Army Black Knights! We were able to find Chris from the Army Blog, The Unbalanced Line. We sent Chris a list of question to better understand the Army-Air Force relationship. Read below to find out...
1. What's the deal with Air Force being in the MWC while Army and Navy remain independent?
Before we get started, I want to say thank you to Winfield for allowing me to take part in this discussion. Georgia Tech fans are lucky to have a blog as dedicated as this to call your own. Enjoy the bowl game and good luck in the New Year.
From time to time Army is mentioned for inclusion in the Big East, usually in the same breath as Navy and while this might have made some sense if the Big East was around in the 60's there is very little incentive right now for Army to join a conference. Remaining independent allows Army to schedule valuable recruiting trips to the south, regional rivalries in the east and still produce a soft enough slate that the Black Knights can challenge for bowl eligibility.
Prior to Air Force's membership in the Mountain West the Falcons were participants in the WAC. In 1999 the Mountain West schools Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming broke away from an oversized WAC to make a more cost effective and rivalry intensive league.
Air Force had been members of the WAC since 1980 and it's easy to see that WAC membership began a streak of success for Air Force football that continues today. In the six years prior to Air Force's WAC membership the Falcons experienced its worst six-year stretch ever, winning just 15 games in those six years. Joining the WAC allowed Air Force to keep in state rivals Colorado State on the schedule and drop tougher teams like Vanderbilt, Stanford, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame from the schedule. In their first two years in the WAC Air Force went 3-6 against an abbreviated WAC schedule and over the next 4 years the AFA simply went 38-12-0 rising to #2 in the country when they played #1 BYU in mid-November 1985. Since then program hasn't looked back to independent status and has thrived in their time in both the WAC and Mountain West football leagues.
2. What makes Army better than Air Force?
Of late, the Air Force Academy has done very well on the football field
Air Force is Army's third most-played rival. 40 straight years of competition and in recent years the rivalry isn't even close. Air Force has won nearly 70% of the head-to-head matchups with Army. But aside from that what have the Falcons ever accomplished? The Air Force Academy has no national titles, no Heisman trophies and when it comes down to it, Air Force has virtually no superlative history.
A quick look at Air Force's record books show that the Academy has only been playing football since 1955. Am I supposed to believe that all of a sudden this space-age academy pops up out of nowhere - literally nowhere; and within 4 years of that first season the Air Force simply goes undefeated and plays in the Cotton Bowl?
AFA students study freaking rocket science and fly at twice the speed of sound, yet they still run versions of the option offense that predate human flight. We know why the academy runs the option, the question is- how have they operated it at such a high level? The Academy's combination of the space-aged and old-fashioned is the stuff of pure science fiction and I suppose their feats are possible to achieve using conventional human knowledge I'm not convinced that the Falcons success isn't the product of a super intelligent species from outside of our solar system. I'm not saying that Air Force Academy football players are the offspring of an alien species; I'm just saying they have achieved a lot with the use of advanced alien technologies.
You don't believe me that the AFA football is under the direction of super intelligent extraterrestrial beings?.. Take a look at their 'chapel'. I don't know if they worship aliens or communicate with extraterrestrials in the structure, but a chapel shaped like a spaceship? Who could have thought of that? Aliens, that's who.
Back to the question: Army is superior to Air Force simply because of the comparative history. It is safe to assume that from this point forward Air Force will never have a Heisman trophy winner, nor will they win a national title. It's just as easy to say that about any of the service academies, except Army and Navy have both already earned football's highest honors. In that respect, no matter how tough Air Force is today, the Falcons will always remain the little brother to Army and Navy football.
3. Tech fans have a great deal of respect for Bobby Ross and what he did at Georgia Tech....
Bobby Ross' work at Army is an interesting topic. When he was hired Army it gave fans a reason to be optimistic about the program after some very lean years. Ross was at worst a very well respected program-changing coach and at best a coaching legend. His work turning around the football programs at the Citadel and Maryland not to mention taking Georgia Tech to the next level gave Army fans hope that the Black Knights would be next for a big turnaround. The way it played out was kind of unfortunate for both Army and Coach Ross. After Ross, Army set their program back by sticking with the pro set offense and hiring Ross assistant Stan Brock; and post-Army, Bobby Ross saw his career coaching record fall back to just above .500. While Ross can still be called a legend, and the Ross years at West Point weren't a disaster for Army considering the program already bottomed out in 2003 - neither Army football nor Bobby Ross took any positives out of the Ross years. That's how coaching changes go sometimes, and there aren't any guarantees for coach, nor program, at the beginning of a new regime. You can ask Dave Wannstedt and Pittsburgh all about that.
4. Do Army and Air Force fans get a long at all?
The Air Force game is normally one of the bigger home attractions as a Black Knights home game and Army fans have a great deal of respect for the other service academies. As far as getting along with Air Force football fans... I can't really say, as I have never met an Air Force football fan. I've lived in eastern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, New York City and now Eugene, OR and I have never once met a single Air Force Falcons fan live and in person. Similarly, I have never seen a UFO, nor an extraterrestrial - but you can draw your own conclusions from that.
5. If your schedule were a dinner and each game was a part of the dinner, then Navy would obvi...
Football schedule as dinner, now there's an idea I can sink my teeth into. Regarding Air Force, the first thing that crossed my mind is some kind of root vegetable due to the Falcons' notable ground game. Considering Air Force is now Army's third most commonly played opponent I figured a potato- though common as a side dish- doesn't offer enough nutrition to represent the Air Force rivalry. Also, Air Force isn't just a straight up option team, so I've settled on a root vegetable versatile enough to offer nutrition and variety... clearly Air Force is the able, adaptable beet. As borscht, sliced and roasted in a beet salad or as Air Force football - beets are a versatile, functional food and guaranteed to be nobody's favorite.
And with that I think I've said about all I have to say. I will specify that I am much more of a Georgia Tech fan than I am an Air Force fan, so again, good luck in the game and:
Go Tech beat Air Force!
A big thanks to Chris for talking to us about Air Force from the Army perspective. Be sure to check out TheUnbalanedLine for all your Army football needs.