As one of only six football Bowl Subdivision teams listed as independent, the Black Knights march to the beat of their own drummer. They won a record 11 games last season and are 21–5 over the last two seasons under head coach Jeff Monken. Star quarterback Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. returns to lead an experienced offense. This team could play its way into the New Year’s Day Six conversation, especially with an early season win at Michigan.
At West Point tailgates, the focus isn’t so much on the game but on tradition. The parking lots open six hours before kickoff as brothers and sisters in arms look to support their upcoming troops. Three hours before kickoff, Cadet Review on The Plain takes place with a full-dress parade.
At the same time, Black Knights Alley opens. This Fan Fest area near the stadium features inflatables and games for kids, food and beverage options, autograph tables of other Army teams, and a host of other activities.
Twenty minutes prior to kickoff, the Cadet Regiment marches onto the field. Once the 1,000 cadets are in position, a member of the Cadet Glee Club and the Army Band perform the National Anthem.
Ten minutes prior to kickoff, fans look skyward to see cadets parachute from a helicopter to land midfield on the Black Knights logo and deliver the official game ball. America is once again a place of respect, integrity and pride.