Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST
Coverage: CBS Sports Network
Vegas Odds: N/A
Fresh off their 52-24 loss to Western Kentucky, Army plays host to the Fordham Rams. While most teams look at hosting an FCS school as a cupcake game, this Ram team is 10-1 on the year and after last week's 52-7 drubbing of Georgetown, is the newly appointed Patriot League champions.
Army, an FBS-Independent for football, is a member of the Patriot League for all sports except football. Fordham is a football-only member of the Patriot League and is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference for all other sports. What does this have to do with this Saturday's game? Almost nothing.
With the College Football Playoff Committee's newest rankings once again snubbing an undefeated Marshall team and ranking a 2-loss Ole Miss 8th and 1-loss Mississippi State 4th (therefore making the Egg Bowl a pseudo-play in game for Mississippi State), it is becoming clearer that the playoff system only stands to benefit the Power 5 teams.
Smaller schools, especially the service academies with their strict physical requirements, are already struggling to compete on the field. If there is no chance of a smaller school competing for a national title or getting a big-money bowl, there has been some talk of smaller schools dropping into the FCS ranks. This would make perfect sense for Army, as they could look to join the Patriot League full-time. Hosting the Patriot League champion is a great measuring stick for the Black Knights, assuming they would end their relationship with the FBS.
But enough with speculation. Now to football.
Fordham is entering the game averaging 43 points a game, with their only disappointing outing being a 50-6 loss to Villanova. The Rams lost starting senior QB Mike Nebrich early during their Georgetown win, but fellow senior Peter Maetzhold stepped in and was able run the offense with no problem. A balanced rushing attack with Kendall Pearcey and Chase Edmonds will keep Army honest. This will definitely be a test of Army's resilience. Fordham has held all opponents, other than Villanova, to under 30 points.
Angel Santiago would like for his last game in Michie Stadium to result in a victory. If this is to happen, he must protect the ball and keep his offense out of long 3rd down conversions. Terry Baggett and Larry Dixon, also seniors, will need to take advantage of each carry that comes their way. Santiago leads the team with 165 carries, with Dixon right behind him with 154. Baggett has to step up if Army wants to emerge the victor.
Match Up To Watch: Offensive Lines vs Defensive Lines
If Army wants to win this game, their linemen on both sides of the ball will need to step up. They will need to pressure Fordham with their three down linemen, as the linebackers and secondary will be needed to cover the Ram receivers. Offensively, the line must create alleys for Santiago and Co. to run through. The key to the triple option is making sure the defense respects all 3 runners. To do this, Army's line must cut down the front seven for Fordham and allow Santiago to read where the ball needs to go.
Prediction: Fordham 42, Army 17