Regardless as to whether the Army Black Knights win or lose at the Armed Forces Bowl, they’ll have to consider their season a tremendous success. They won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time in two decades, and they’re just thrilled to be here in Fort Worth.
Meanwhile, the San Diego State Aztecs were in the New Year’s Six discussion for a while, so they could find themselves disappointed in their bowl destination in 2017 at the Armed Forces Bowl.
San Diego State Bowl History
Even though SDSU might be sad about the way this year turned out, the Aztecs can win an 11th game of the season and get to that mark for the third straight year with a victory.
Rocky Long has brought the Aztecs to a bowl game every single season he has been in San Diego since taking over for Brady Hoke in 2011. Long, though, is only 3-3 in his first six bowl appearances. However, San Diego State knocked off Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl last season.
Army Bowl History
For a team with a tradition as rich as Army, it’s amazing that the program has only won back-to-back bowl games once in its history (1984 and 1985). This can be the second time the Black Knights have ever reached said feat after winning the Heart of Dallas Bowl in overtime over North Texas last season.
No man had even brought Army to two bowl games in his tenure since Jim Young had the Cadets at the top of their game in the 1980s. This is Army’s third bowl appearance since 1996, and the team has won both of its previous encounters.
Why San Diego State Will Win the Armed Forces Bowl
Rashaad Penny might have been the most underappreciated player in college football this season. He didn’t even get an invitation to the College Football Awards Show, and that’s after rushing for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 7.4 yards per carry. What more could the senior have done?
The Aztecs should have a big advantage up front. Their offensive line outweighs the Army defensive line by about 25 pounds per player, and that should be good news for both Penny and backup Juwan Washington, who had 715 yards and seven touchdowns in his own right this year.
Why Army Will Win the Armed Forces Bowl
Army flat out won’t beat itself. The Cadets committed just 4.25 penalties per game this season (No. 13 in the country), and they only lost nine total turnovers (tied for third-fewest in the nation behind Alabama and LSU).
Ahmad Bradshaw can’t throw the ball, but he sure can run it. He rumbled for 1,566 yards and 12 touchdowns this season leading the triple-option offense. The Black Knights have five men who have rushed for at least 200 yards, and all five averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry.
Armed Forces Bowl Prediction
There isn’t going to be a heck of a lot of throwing the ball in the Armed Forces Bowl. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a ton of excitement, though.
We don’t understand the disrespect for Army here. Sure, it didn’t play against a great schedule, but the teams that it faced were generally pretty darn good. Going on the road and beating Air Force is no small task even in a down year for the Falcons, and losing by three against North Texas in Denton was proof that this team can really play.
San Diego State is definitely on upset alert. With motivation as a bit of a factor, we could certainly see the Black Knights pulling off this shocker.
One thing is for sure: Whichever team forces the other one to throw the ball in the fourth quarter is probably going to win.
Armed Forces Bowl Pick: Army 28, San Diego State 23
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