On the line this Saturday in Denver, Colorado, will be the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Air Force canclaim yet another victory in the annual three-way service academy rivalry against Army and Navy by taking down the Black Knights in the home of the Denver Broncos.
The Falcons are 8-0 and on Tuesday were unveiled as the No. 25 team in the first edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings. But while firmly in the mix for a New Year’s Six bowl as the potential top-ranked Group of Five conference champion, the stakes for Saturday exist far beyond the limits of this season. Air Force has a chance to claim a series-best 22nd title in the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition, a battle between the three FBS service academies that is its 52nd year here in 2023.
Air Force holds a 38-18-1 lead in the series history against Army, which enters the game with a 2-6 record and riding a five-game losing streak. Army coach Jeff Monken has been among the more successful coaches against Air Force, holding a 4-5 record against the Falcons. Though the results this season have fallen short of the standard he has established in West Point, a win against the Falcons would give the Black Knights a shot to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy at the end of the season by way of the annual rivalry game against Navy.
Air Force vs. Army: Need to know
Falcons are streaking: An 8-0 record marks the best start in Air Force program history since 1985, when the Falcons started 10-0 and finished 12-1 with a top-10 ranking after a victory against Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl. But the winning streak extends back into last season and currently stands at 13 games, which is tied for a school record and currently the fourth-best active winning streak in FBS.
Air Force’s offense runs through dynamic QB: Senior quarterback Zac Larrier has shaken off some minor injuries and remained productive throughout the season, and his 8-0 record as a starter is tied for the best start for a quarterback in program history. Larrier has thrown a touchdown pass and recorded a touchdown run in three different games this season (including last week’s 30-13 win against Colorado State) and rides a four-game streak of throwing a touchdown pass.
Army has held the upper hand in this rivalry in recent years: Though the Black Knights find themselves in the midst of a losing streak and as heavy underdogs in this matchup, they’ve gotten the best of Air Force with four wins in the last six meetings. The Falcons won last year’s meeting 13-7, but Army claimed wins in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021, with that matchup two years ago being a 21-14 overtime thriller at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
How to watch Air Force vs. Army live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 4 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Empower Field at Mile High — Denver, Colorado
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime (Try It Free)
Air Force vs. Army prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Usually, the under is safest bet in all matchups between service academies. Running the football keeps the clock moving and both of these defenses are used to defending option attacks in practice. However, the total has gotten so low that I think the best play is take an Air Force team that has been dominant against most of its competition and lay the points against an Army side that hasn’t covered the spread since mid-September. Pick: Air Force -18.5
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