West Point faces certain disadvantages on the football field compared to other Division 1-A football programs.
For one, knuckleheads don't gain admission to the military academy. For another, the cadets don't spend the offseason focusing on football-specific workouts. They prepare their bodies for more important battles.
Army does have one edge over most schools. His name is Bobby Ross. He turns 70 in December, and the game clearly has not passed him by.
Ross coached Georgia Tech to a share of the national title and led the San Diego Chargers to a Super Bowl XXIX appearance.
Army, which will play host to Rice on Saturday, takes a 2-2 record into the game and a 1-1 mark against Big 12 schools. The Cadets lost, 28-24, to Texas A&M and defeated Baylor in overtime, 27-20.
Ross' turnaround of a program that had bottomed out is the feel-good story of the 2006 football season.
This week's Big 12 predictions:
Nebraska 40, Kansas 15: The Cornhuskers are bigger, better, more experienced and have the homefield advantage. KU's streak-busting victory of a year ago was a nice illustration of just what an in-your-face defense the Jayhawks had in 2005, when eight seniors started and not one was taken in the NFL draft.
Baylor 3, Kansas State 0: Ron Prince's swarming defense is legitimate, but line play and subpar quarterback performance have kept the offense from clicking. Running back Thomas Clayton averages 5.8 yards a carry and has so much talent he has two nicknames. Clayton gave himself the nickname "Hollywood," but at times seems to prefer "Tommy Guns," a nod to his muscular arms. Thomas Clayton also has been known to refer to himself as "Thomas Clayton."
Missouri 24, Colorado 20: No. 25 Mizzou is 4-0 and the Buffaloes are 0-4 and the game is at Faurot Field, so why is this such a difficult forecast? Suppose Colorado taking a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter in Athens against No. 9 Georgia was not a fluke. Suppose it was an illustration that the Colorado players needed time to understand the teaching methods of new coach Dan Hawkins and everything clicked at once. Still, with Chase Daniel (nine touchdown passes, two interceptions) in charge of the offense, give the Tigers the edge.
Texas A&M 27, Texas Tech 24: Asked last spring to predict who would be the best quarterback in the Big 12, former A&M coach Jackie Sherrill, a sports talk radio host, answered Stephen McGee. The old coach knows of what he speaks. McGee has thrown 90 passes, none of which were intercepted. He has completed 68.2 percent and has averaged 9.1 yards per pass attempt. He also has rushed for 219 yards. Even against a soft nonconference schedule, those numbers mean something.
Iowa State 42, Northern Iowa 14: A disappointment given that they returned 10 starters from a potent offense, the Cyclones are due to explode against a far less talented opponent.
Texas 59, Sam Houston State 10: If he stays in the game long enough, look for Longhorns receiver Limas Sweed to challenge the 200-yard mark. The Bearkats have allowed more than 300 yards passing per game.
(The contest is currently closed. Good luck to all who entered.)