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If you’re only going to read one Army-Navy preview this year … read this one, from our good friends at USA Today. But if you’ve got the bandwidth for a second preview, or you prefer your service-academy football with a side of spirit spots, read on for a few things you need to know as kickoff comes ever closer. The basics: 114th Army-Navy game, Saturday, 3 p.m. Eastern, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia. TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have the call). Pregame: Live pregame fare begins at 11 a.m. on CBS Sports Network (Do you get it? Find out here)…

Three years ago, Katie McHugh — daughter of one soldier, sister of another — got a text from her younger sister. “Kelly,” it said, “you need to come home now.” Let McHugh tell you the rest of the story from that day in May 2010 — how she feared the worst for her brother, who’d deployed to Iraq, only to find out her father, Col. John M. McHugh, 46, had died in a suicide-bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on what was supposed to be a two-week visit. He left behind a wife, five children and, at the time, one grandchild.…

Now that Army football has completed what was a less-than-rewarding trip to Hawaii, focus for both the Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen moves to where fans of both schools have been focused most of the season — onto the Dec. 14 showdown in Philadelphia, where Navy (7-4) will attempt to win its 12th straight over Army (3-8). That leaves about two weeks for hype. And aspiring video producers are already off and running. Here are four early spirit spots — two from each side — and a few notes on each. Also, it’s not too late to enter the…

USA Today has updated its massive college football salary database and recently published a piece on the exploding cost of employing a major-college football coach, which has nearly doubled since 2006. The payouts for service-academy coaches haven’t seen that big of a surge, at least in recent years. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo still leads the pack, earning a bit more than $1.5 million in 2013. That’s down from $1.6 million last year, but those figures likely all fall under the contract extension signed by the coach, terms undisclosed, in 2011. It’s good enough for 63rd on the overall list.…

Army Sgt. 1st Class Tim Kennedy will fight in front of a decidedly friendly crowd tonight at Fort Campbell, Ky., in the main event of the third UFC “Fight for the Troops” card. Kennedy (16-4) will battle fellow 185-pounder Rafael “Sapo” Natal (17-4-1). That’s “Natal.” With a “T”: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOTscXtjK0k[/youtube] Honest mistake — after all, Kennedy’s been busy in the run-up to tonight’s fight, continuing his stellar history of media-darling-ness: After his initial opponent, Lyoto Machida, was moved off the card to replace the injured Michael Bisping in an earlier event, Kennedy Twitter-bombed nearly the entire UFC roster, seeking a replacement.…

The Naval Academy will host an all-day SportsCenter extravaganza Friday in honor of the show’s annual Veterans Day tribute, ahead of Saturday’s home game against Hawaii. Starting at 9 a.m. Eastern, tune in to ESPN for interviews with Commandant of Midshipmen Capt.  Bill Byrne, Superintendent Vice Adm. Mike Miller, Navy football head coach Ken Niumatalolo and assorted midshipmen throughout the day, live from the T-Court on campus. Cameras will also catch mids at noon meal formation, and later on, ESPN will air pre-taped interviews from mids in a segment called “Why I’m Here.” According to the Navy football website, ESPN might…

College football fans are used to one-off specialty uniforms — everything from desert camouflage to futuristic shock trooper to whatever Oregon decides to wear this week. But Northwestern’s gear for its Saturday home game against Michigan has drawn some criticism for its design — a flag-themed ensemble with splatters of red all over it that’s supposed to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the final gun, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the WWP. Replicas sold by the school will also benefit the charity — one dime out of…

The writer of this entry is a Red Sox fan, so he’s paying close attention to the World Series. He’s also been fascinated with the source of the helmet worn by outfielder Jonny Gomes during playoff-related celebrations, something about which Gomes has been elusive, other than mentioning it’s been “battle tested.” Well, Gomes is correct — it’s been battle tested, alright, and it’s also appeared in a war zone. Army Master Sgt. Miguel Chacon’s relationship with Gomes dates back to earlier this season, when Gomes saw the soldier in the crowd and tossed him a pair of batting gloves. Chacon,…

Following a record-setting career at the Naval Academy, David Robinson went on to earn two NBA championships, one NBA MVP, 10 all-star selections three Olympic medals (two gold, one bronze) and a bust in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s now added a Heisman. Not bad for a guy who never played college football. Staubach and Bellino fans, settle down — Robinson was named this year’s recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian award, given by the Heisman Trophy Trust to ” recognize and honor selfless athletes who continually give back to the community and seek to improve the lives of others,”…

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