The Commander-in-Chief’s trophy winner is usually determined each year by the Army-Navy game during the final week of the season. But this year, it will be Army and Air Force who are finishing the regular season with a game that will decide the winner of the coveted hardware that goes annually to the winner of the round-robin between the service academies.
You can watch Air Force vs. Army on Saturday, December 19th at 3:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network, or you can stream it via the CBS Sports app with a cable or streaming service login.These teams were originally scheduled to meet Nov. 7 before the game apparently they just didn’t want to play it this weekend and I’m not sure it all had to do with COVID and those kinds of things.”
Date: Saturday, Dec. 19 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Michie Stadium — West Point, New York
TV: CBS Sports Network
Army vs. Air Force spread: Army +2.5
Army vs. Air Force over-under: 37 points
Army vs. Air Force money line: Air Force -140, Army +120
Army has been a solid, if not remarkable team all season. Their eight-win total is a bit deceiving as the Black Knights have only beat one FBS team with a record above .500, though they held No. 9 Cincinnati close early in the season. The defense is very good, only allowing 14.7 points per game on average, which ranks 4th in the nation. The Air Force defense is good too, allowing just 16 points per game in a limited sample size.
Both teams score a lot too and do it in similar ways, averaging less than 100 yards passing each week while getting an absurd amount of yards on the ground. Air Force averages over 300 yards rushing each week and Army sits at 272. They both stop the run well too, giving up less than 120 yards rushing on average.
At the time, it was unclear if and when the game might be rescheduled and what impact the postponement would have on the race for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy. But the game is on, and it’s a winner take-all affair as Army looks to take the trophy for the third time in four years while Air Force tries to claim it for the first time since 2016.
Air Force: It’s been a season of extremes for Air Force. The Falcons’ two losses came by double digits to Boise State and San Jose State — the two teams playing in the Mountain West title game — while their three victories over Navy, New Mexico and Utah State are by an average margin of 29.7 points. But the combined record of the three teams Air Force has beaten is just 6-17. So perhaps with this game against Army, the Falcons are finally meeting an equal adversary. Defending the run has been a strength for Air Force, and if the Falcons are as good against Army’s option attack as they were against Navy’s in a 40-7 win back in October, then they will have a great chance to claim the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy.
Army: When a service academy coach who runs an option-oriented system is getting buzz for major job openings, you know things are going well. That’s certainly the case for Monken, who has his team sitting at 8-2. The Black Knights even snuck briefly into the AP Top 25 poll after a 2-0 start before much of the country had started playing. Though its status as an independent program made getting a full schedule tough amid the pandemic, Army’s 15-0 win over arch-rival Navy last week solidified that this is another good team assembled by Monken, who has now led the Black Knights to four winning seasons in the last five years after a long period of struggle for the program.