It's time to extend some heartfelt congratulations to two of our nations' service academies. Long perceived to be uncompetitive in intercollegiate football, partly because the service obligation (five years) prevents student atheletes who go to our academies from persuing careers in professional sports immediately upon graduation (how much more impressive would Roger Staubach's career with the Dallas Cowboys have been if he had been able to play football during his five years of active duty?) and partly because the physical requirements include strict limits on maximum height and weight of the student atheletes, the Falcons and the Midshipmen nonetheless earned some serious respect with decisive victories in bowl games yesterday.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Houston 20, Air Force 47
Texas Bowl: Navy 35, Missouri 13
Air Force has the most restrictive height and weight restrictions of all of the service academies, as all cadets must conform to the requirements for pilots of combat aircraft. Nonetheless, they play a very interesting style of offense with many option plays that can really break a player with the ball open. Navy also has an unsual offense, at least for college football, called the "triple option" (only one other college is now using it, and their coach was formerly at Navy).
There are plenty of kudo's to go around -- especially to the alumni and boosters whose contributions made it possible to bring in top coaching staffs and, of course, to the players who made it work, and their classmates who have steadfastly supported their efforts on and off the field.
But above all, it's great to see future officers of our armed forces achieving this kind of success!