In fact, the last time any two service academies were both in the final poll together, it was the 1958 season and Army was led by Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins, who we had the privilege of interviewing during Radio Row this year for the Army-Navy game. That Army team would go 8-0-1, and if they hadn’t tied Pitt, would have been the National Champions, but ended the season ranked third. Air Force was only in its fourth season, but it also didn’t lose a game, finishing 9-0-2 with a 0-0 tie against TCU in the Cotton Bowl and sixth in the country.
This may not be the late 1950’s and early 1960’s teams of yesteryear, but you have to say this is the best two collective seasons of service academy teams in recent memories.
Air Force, which will end the season 22nd in the country, turned around back-to-back 5-7 seasons in to an 11 win campaign that saw them go toe to toe with multiple PAC-12 teams and come out on top. While their two losses were both critical, with Boise State keeping them from a Mountain West title appearance and Navy keeping them from the CIC Trophy, Falcons fans have to be ecstatic with how the season went.
They really hit their stride in the second half of the season, and not only was 2019 one for the ages, but they have a ton of talent coming back on both sides of the ball. Donald Hammond III, Kade Remsberg, and Timothy Jackson are gonna make for one heck of a backfield next year.
The season was successful enough to get Troy Calhoun an extension as well, as a deal is being finalized that would keep the USAFA alumnus in Colorado Springs through 2025.
Falcon Nation: I'm thrilled to share that we are in the final stages of agreeing to a new contract with Coach Calhoun. The new contract will have Coach Calhoun leading @AF_Football through the 2025 football season. It's a great day to be a Falcon! #LetsFly ⚡️✈️⚡️— Nathan Pine (@Nate_Pine) January 13, 2020
They proved themselves the best team in Colorado and they took down Mike Leach in his last game at Wazzu to cap off the season in the Cheez-it bowl! Bring on 2020!
Navy ended the 2019 season in a much different place than the 2018 season. The biggest turnaround in FBS this year, going from 3-10 to 11-2, the Mids were one of the greatest stories in college football all year. They ended by knocking off Army and reclaiming the CIC Trophy and then taking down a really good Kansas State team out of the Big 12, winning the Liberty Bowl and finishing in the top 20 teams in the country in the final AP Poll.
Malcolm Perry finished his Navy career as the single season rushing leader in FBS history by a QB, breaking Jordan Lynch’s record, and the Navy defense under first year coordinator Brian Newberry have themselves set up to be the anchor of Navy’s team in 2020. 2019 was incredible if you are a fan of the Midshipmen, but 2020 could be pretty great too!
Sometimes we take for granted what is taking place during the season as we go week-to-week, but 2019 was absolutely a historic season for service academy football, with two 11 win teams that finished the season in the top 25 teams in the country when it was all said and done!
Here’s to hoping it will be more of the same next year!