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CBS honors academy football

This is an item I wrote for the Friday newspaper about CBS College Sports' Armed Forces Salute:

Instead of watching Heat-Celtics Tuesday I attended a CBS College Sports event on the Intrepid to mark “Armed Forces Salute’’ week.

As past-Heisman-winner experiences go, let’s just say standing with Pete Dawkins (Army, 1958) on the fight deck was more inspiring than interviewing Ron Dayne (Wisconsin, 1999) in the locker room.

The salute includes documentaries (replaying all weekend) about the football programs at Army, Navy and Air Force.

But the highlight is a tripleheader tomorrow with VMI-Army, Duke-Navy and Utah-Air Force. Each academy will be represented by a guest studio analyst, including Air Force senior Daniel Gidasi of Merrick.

Navy (5-2) thumped Notre Dame last weekend and Army (4-3) is two victories from its first bowl since 1996.

Dawkins said coach Rich Ellerson is the man to revive long-lagging Army, and lamented that people often underestimate the assets of service academy students-athletes – such as their discipline and fitness – while focusing on the schools’ recruiting challenges.

Not that those challenges aren’t real. Dawkins listed some: “It’s hard to recruit kids who want to cut their hair and wear a uniform and go to war.’’

New York Sports