Predicting Army’s 2018 Football Season

Army visits White House, President Trump, 2018

Jeff Monken is working on setting a new bar at Army for a modern era football coach. He has already made the Black Knights competitive in back-to-back seasons for the first times since the 1980s, and now he is working on making it three good years on the bounce for the first time in 60 years.

The fullbacks and slot backs are in place, but Army must find the pieces for a new offensive line and – crucially – a way to replace QB Ahmad Bradshaw who was an all-timer at the position. If someone out of the many options can step into the role, then the Black Knights offense will roll again in 2018.

August

8/31/18 @ Duke – With Ahmad Bradshaw and his 3,028 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns gone, this game at Duke is going to be one of transition. Kelvin Hopkins – the No. 2 last season – is expected to get the start, but how effective will he be against a Power 5 opponent? Army 20, Duke 30.

September

9/8/18 Liberty – a ho-hum game used to tune up the offense for the long season ahead. Army 42, Liberty 7.

9/15/18 Hawaii – Just as travelling to play Hawaii is a chore, the Rainbow Islanders have all sorts of issues when travelling to the mainland to play. Home field advantage rarely means more than when your opponent is travelling this many time zones to play. Army 31, Hawaii 17.

9/22/18 @ Oklahoma – This is by far the toughest game on the entire schedule. If Monken can get his team to play within a couple of scores of the Sooners, then this will be seen as a successful trip. Army 17, Oklahoma 42.

9/29/18 @ Buffalo – This is the kind of early season game that an Army defense returning a top-40 level of production across the nation will have to step up in. The Army fullbacks can batter Buffalo, but the defense will have to make a play or two late for the Black Knights to escape New York with the win. Army 24, Buffalo 27.

October

10/6/18 BYE

10/13/18 @ San Jose State – The Black Knights follow up the bye with a rebuilding San Jose State squad that finished 2-11 in 2017. This will be a solid squad in 2019, but this game comes a little too early for growing sophomores like QB Montel Aaron and RB Tyler Nevens. Army should be able to run all over a team that finished 117th in rushing success rate last season. Army 41, San Jose State 17.

10/20/18 Miami (OH) – This three game stretch against teams around the same level as Army will really determine the success of the season. It starts with a team that is 5-17 in one possession finishes under head coach Chuck Martin, bad news when facing an Army team that has an offense/defense combination designed to keep things close. Army 28, Miami (OH) 24.

10/27/18 @ Eastern Michigan – Army beat EMU by just one point last season, suggesting that the two teams are very evenly matched. The Eagles also bring in quarterback Tyler Wiegers – an Iowa transfer – giving some immediate talent to a position that would otherwise have been a question mark. Army 21, EMU 28.

November

11/3/18 Air Force – Army will be able to run the ball on an Air Force defense that was surprisingly bad in 2017. Quarterback Arion Worthman is talented, but he gets hit way too much in an offense that doesn’t seem to offer him any protection from the skill positions. Army 38, Air Force 21.

11/10/18 Lafayette – This is a late season game with the same fundamental principles as the Liberty contest in Week 2. Get better, get healthy, get the young guys playing time. Army 32, Lafayette 7.

11/17/18 Colgate – See above. Army 42, Colgate 21.

11/24/18 BYE

December

12/1/18 BYE

12/8/18 Navy (in Philadelphia) – The health of the two teams will be important here as both triple-option offenses finish off a grueling season with the best rivalry game in the world. Army has won two on the bounce, but Navy has the best player on the Linc this year in quarterback Malcolm Reynolds. Army 27, Navy 35.

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