0

Ross has ability to turn Army around

By Anthony Rhoads

Zero wins, 13 losses. No other major college football team has ever gone 0-13 ? except for this year's Army team.

The cadets of West Point lost 34-6 against Navy on Saturday to end what has been a miserable season.

Army now not only owns the worst record of all-time for a Division I-A program but the Black Knights are riding a 15-game losing streak, the longest in the nation. They have also lost 24 of their last 25 games.

But with Tuesday's hiring of Bobby Ross, the Army Black Knight just might turn things around.

Ross has built championships both at the collegiate and professional levels.

In 1990, he guided Georgia Tech to an 11-0-1 record and a share of the national championship.

In 1994, he led the San Diego Chargers to their only AFC championship.

Ross also has a military background. He served in U.S. Army in the early 1960s and is a Virginia Military Institute graduate. In the 1970s, he coached at The Citadel.

Hopefully, Ross can get Army on track and make it a competitive program again.

Navy has certainly turned its program around this year with Paul Johnson.

When Johnson announced he was leaving Georgia Southern to coach at Navy, it baffled a lot of folks. Even though he was moving up to a Division I-A program, was going to Navy really a move up?

Why move from a very successful Division I-AA program to coach one of the worst Division I-A programs in the nation?

Before Johnson became head coach, Navy went 1-20 the previous two seasons, the worst two-year stretch in the program's history.

Last year, Navy went 2-10 in Johnson first season as head coach but this year the Midshipmen are headed to the Houston Bowl to play Texas Tech after finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record.

Now, Johnson has to be considered a favorite for national coach of the year honors.

How about the Mountaineers? Another candidate for coach of the year has to be West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez.

The Mountaineers began the season at 1-4 and following a heartbreaking loss to Miami, the Mountaineers went on a seven-game winning streak.

West Virginia finished second in the Big East and will play Maryland in the Gator Bowl. Maryland thrashed West Virginia earlier this year but the Mountaineers are a different football team now and should give Ralph Friedgen's team a tough contest.

"It's a rivalry game," Friedgen said in a recent press conference. "You ask West Virginia and Maryland kids, and they know it's going to be a hard-hitting football game. We have tremendous respect for their program, and after the Gator Bowl, we're going to play them next year up in Morgantown. We could play this game 11 times a year and it would still be a tough football game."

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.