It’s that time again. College football is here, and let’s take a look at this weekend’s games involving the service academies. (Note: All times Eastern.)
• ARMY opens its season at 7 p.m. Saturday at Northern Illinois (streaming online at ESPN3.com). After last year’s win in the Armed Forces Bowl against Southern Methodist, the first in 25 years, the Black Knights will look to make further strides.
Northern Illinois went 11-3 last year, finishing 8-0 and taking home the championship in the MAC’s West Division, as well as winning the Humanitarian Bowl, 40-17, over Fresno State. The
Huskies subsequently lost their coach, Jerry Kill, who made his way to Minnesota. Northern Illinois does return 11 starters from last season, including four-year starting quarterback Chandler Harnish.
The only other meeting between the teams was in 1992, when Army won.
• NAVY hosts Delaware at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS Sports Network) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Navy wants to wipe out the memory of its loss to San Diego State in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl. This will also be the first game for the Mids’ offense since Ricky Dobbs graduated.
Delaware’s last result was just as difficult to swallow: The Blue Hens lost a 19-0 second-half lead in last year’s Football Championship Subdivision (the artist formerly known as Division I-AA) championship game and dropped the ball against Eastern Washington. So went the hopes for Delaware’s second FCS title.
With Pat Devlin graduated, the main question for the Blue Hens is: who will be the quarterback? That’s not 100 percent settled yet. Whomever it is will have sophomore running back Andrew Pierce (1,655 yards in 15 games in 2010) in the backfield with him.
• AIR FORCE hosts South Dakota at 2 p.m. Saturday (MountainWest Sports Network, aka the mtn.). The Falcons, of course, finished 2010 with a 9-4 mark and a win against Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl. They return 14 starters, including senior quarterback Tim Jefferson.
The Coyotes finished 4-7 last year but return 19 of 22 starters (9 on offense, 10 on defense) from that rough campaign. Eight players were all-Great West Conference selections in 2010.
• COAST GUARD is off this week. The Bears open their season at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday when they visit Merchant Marine in the battle for the Secretaries Cup.