The best era for every current AAC football school

Famous Toastery Bowl - Western Kentucky v Old Dominion
Famous Toastery Bowl - Western Kentucky v Old Dominion / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages
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Let's look back at the most successful eras of every AAC football program.

Army Black Knights: Red Blaik Era (1941-1958)

The Black Knights of Army West Point have been playing organized college football since 1891. The 2024 campaign will be the program's 131st season. However, despite the long track record, Army doesn’t have many choices to choose from when discussing their greatest run of success.

Considerations include the span from 1913-16 under coach Charles Daly which features Army’s first national championship in 1914. The Jim Young days from 1983 to 1990 saw the military academy reach three bowl games. The current Jeff Monken days, which began in 2014, have seen Army enjoy an 11-win season in 2018, as well as five bowl games.

Regardless, those options are still not as great nor legendary as the 18-year run under Red Blaik from 1941-1958. When Blaik stepped in for his first year, Army just went through the worst season in program history up to that point as the Cadets went 1-7-1. Arriving from Dartmouth, Blaik quickly helped give Army some respectability back with a four-win improvement in his first year with a 5-3-1 record

Over the next two seasons, Army would slightly improve their win total to 6 and 7, respectively. Then came the 1944 season. With the arrival of legendary backfield mates and future college football legends Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, the Cadets would enjoy their first season undefeated and untied since 1916, finishing 9-0 and winning the academy’s second National Championship.

The next season, Army went a perfect 9-0 again and became the tenth different program to repeat and defend the National Championship. Doc Blanchard also became the first Army player to win the Heisman Trophy. In 1946, Army went 9-0-1 and Glenn Davis won the Heisman Trophy. Although Army wouldn’t win a third title during this run, the program enjoyed tons of success.

Under Blaik’s tutelage, the academy would compile a record 121-33-10 during this run. Besides the two National Championships, Army would also enjoy another Heisman Trophy winner in Pete Dawkins in 1958. West Point would have eleven different players become All-Americans. Blaik won the 1946 AFCA Coach of the Year Award. Thirteen finishes in the top 25 and eight top 10 finishes would also be seen during this run and only suffered one losing season. After Red Blaik’s retirement in 1958, Army has only experienced two more AP Post rankings.