Clu introduces us to yet another amazing Rivalry Trophy Series.
OK. I’m winless thus far in the Rivalry Trophy Series. Again though, no big deal! These kinds of things happen to even the best writers in college sports. Don’t worry, I’ll break out of this funk! How, you ask? By talking about this special rivalry. You see, it’s a continuation of sorts, as this particular trophy pays homage to our service men and women in all of the armed forces. When you add in the fact that we are coming up on a very important presidential election this November, it made me feel that it was only appropriate to bring trophy rivalry to the attention of the not so average college sports fan. It’s known as the “Commander In Chief” trophy.
The History Behind the Hardware
As previously stated, the Commander in Chief Trophy pays tribute to all of the servicemen and women who are proudly serving the United States in all areas of the armed forces. The trophy is awarded to the overall winner between the United States Military Academy (Army), the US Naval Academy (Navy) and the US Air Force Academy (Air Force). Esentially, it’s Army vs. Navy vs. Air Force. The trophy is named for the President of the United States, who is the Commander in Chief of all the U.S. military services under the US Constitution. This series actually began in 1972, when Air Force General George Simler, who was also a former Air Force Academy athletic director, came up with the idea of having the three schools compete for the trophy. He did this because, prior to the 1972 season, the Air Force Academy did not participate in an annual series against either Army or Navy. So hey! They wanted to get in on all the fun. Can you blame them?
The trophy itself has a three-sided display, one of which is dedicated to each academy, and lists the year each has taken it home. The Commander in Chief who presented the inaugural trophy was none other than Tricky Dick himself, President Richard Nixon. Nixon presented it to the Army Black Knights after they defeated both Air Force and Navy that year. The trophy is also jointly sponsored by the alumni associations of the three academies.
On a side note, the other two academies, the US coast guard and the US Marine Academy do not participate in this event, as they’re a third of the size of the three larger academies. They do fight for a trophy of their own! The two DIII programs play each other for a trophy known as the Secretary’s Cup. You can find out more about it here.
The Best of the Best of the Best, Sir!
Air Force has dominated the series since its inception, winning the trophy 18 times, including each of the past two years. And, just to clear up when I say they “hold the trophy” they don’t actually hold it in their hands for the two years. What did you think I meant? That every cadet at the Air Force academy has to hold it for 24 hours as part of their initiation? For reals?? Although, it’s the military so I hope I didn’t just start a new tradition… Alright, getting back to the trophy winners… As I said, Air Force has the most wins. They are followed by Navy, who has won it 12 times. Last but not least, There’s Army, who has won it a grand total of 6 times! Their last win came 16 years ago, all the way back in 1996. On four separate occasions, there’s has been a tie between the three schools. When that occurs, the team who won it the year before ends up holding on to the trophy (for safe keeping of course). The last time we had a tie was all the way back in 1993, and Air Force would end up keeping the trophy.
Now let’s take a look at the three academies and when they play each other.
Air Force Falcons 2-2 (1-1 in the Mountain West)
Game 1: vs. Navy – 10/6 at 11:30 AM
Game 2: @ Army – 11/3 at 12:00 PM (at Yankee Stadium)
The defending champion Air Force Academy goes into Saturday’s game, the first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy matchup with Navy, leading the nation in rushing with nearly 400 yards per game (400!). QB Connor Dietz, who is known more for his running ability than his arm, is one of the main reasons they have had this success. But this season, he has shown that he can also put up some solid passing numbers. Dietz is 55 for 104 for with 808 yards and 2 TDs. And the running game I just mentioned? Dietz has 257 yards and 3 TDs, but the bulk of this massive running attack comes from senior RB Cody Gets. Gets has 683 yards rushing and 7 TDs. Air Force also has 3 other players with over 100 yards rushing on the season. These Falcons sure hate to pass the ball, but can you blame them when they have five players who can run it so well?
Navy Midshipmen 1-3 (FBS Independent)
Game 1: @ Air Force – 10/6 at 11:30 AM
Game 2: @ Army – 12/8 at 3 PM
Navy is 0-3 against FBS teams this season and is still struggling to find itself offensively. Now they travel to Colorado Springs, where they are 6-15 all-time, to take on Air Force. The last time Navy won the trophy was in 2009, when they ended a seven-year title defense. The key to their success in this game is Junior QB Trey Miller, who has the ability to make plays running the ball (181 yards, 3 TDs), but has been ineffective at throwing the ball (373 yards, 1 TD/3INTs). He needs to become a little more efficient/accurate, whatever you want to call it, if the Midshipmen want to come out of Colorado with a win.
Army Black Knights 0-4 (FBS Independent)
Game 1: vs. Air Force – 11/3 12 PM (at Yankee Stadium)
Game 2: vs. Navy – 12/8 at 3 PM
Well, I really wish I could find something nice to say about the Army Black Knights here, but the fact of the matter is that they’re really not that great of a football program this year. Like I mentioned before, the last time they won the Commander in Chief trophy was in 1996 and, on top of that, they have won the trophy the least amount of times.
Last week, they even lost at home in West Point, NY to SUNY Stony Brook 23-3!! (That’s part of a reason why I decided to talk about them in an up coming post… stay tuned for that.) My question is this: how do you lose to a school playing in the FCS!?!? Here’s how! by fumbling four times and losing all of ’em! Let’s hope they can pull it together in their next home game against Boston College. The one positive here, I guess, is that they too like to run the ball, even though they were held to a season low of 273 yards rushing AGAINST SUNY STONY BROOK and lost by 20! Here’s hoping the Black Knights aren’t 0-5 after Saturday.
Usually I end these posts by picking a winner, but since there are three teams here, I don’t think that it would be fair to predict something that could potentially take place in December, so lets revisit this post then shall we?
Featured image courtesy of: Charles Dharapak / AP
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