"Being an Army football player makes me part of a brotherhood of warriors who I would lay my life on the line for, knowing each and every one of them would do the same for me." -- Trey Mirrane, Army senior center

"Being an Army football player makes me part of a brotherhood of warriors who I would lay my life on the line for, knowing each and every one of them would do the same for me."


- Trey Mirrane, Army senior center


CHESTNUT HILL - They fought the good fight. The football team from West Point always does, no matter what the final score is, and make no mistake, Army doesn't win much anymore.


Yesterday at Boston College's Alumni Stadium was not an unusual Saturday for the Cadets. They gave the 14th-ranked Eagles all they could handle - it was BC 16-7 at the half - then just got whipped by bigger talent if not bigger hearts. The final was 37-17. For the Cadets, it was only a score, in the bigger picture.


"I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. ... I want a West Point football player"


- Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, during World War II


How can you not root for Army, at least when it's not playing your team? Sift through other college football media guides and there's always a page of famous alumni not from the sports world: Movie stars, politicians, captains of industry. Fine. Nothing wrong with people making something of themselves after college.


The Army media guide can toss out a few notable grads, too. Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf, Ulysses S. Grant, George Patton and Robert E. Lee, for starters.


There's a saying at West Point. "Much of the history we teach was made by the people we taught." Ain't that the truth.


"In the evening of my memory, always I look back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes ... duty, honor, country. Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know, when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps ... and the corps ... and the corps."


- MacArthur


On your average campus, football stars frequently return to watch a game from the sideline. Too many Army grads return to campus in a body bag. The national anthem before an Army game just has more meaning.


It's no coincidence that BC players didn't just shake Army players' hands after the game, they thanked them for what they will do for the country. They joined the Cadets for the Army song after the game. Any college player who thinks combining academics with bigtime athletics is tough should post the daily schedule of Army players in their dorm room.


6:55: breakfast


7:35: class or study


noon: lunch


12:45: commandant/dean time


1:50: class or study


4:10: intramural or club athletics, parades, extracurricular activity or free time


6:30: supper (optional, except Thursday)


7:15: cadet duties


7:30: study conditions/extracurricular activities


8:30: study time


11:30: taps


midnight: lights out


Just like Florida State, huh?


"Some part of it is the belief that you are not only doing it for personal glory, but you do it because it is your responsibility."


- Pete Dawkins, Cadet Brigade Commander and All-American


During a break in yesterday's game, BC fans gave the white-shirted Cadets who'd driven down to support their team a big hand. Think Georgia fans ever stop to applaud Florida fans? Buckeyes cheering Wolverine fans? Army football players should be everybody's second-favorite team.


The Cadets are 1-3. It took them overtime to beat Rhode Island. It might be their only win this season. But Army will always be a special team.


"I think if my dear mother were alive, she would tell you nothing comes close to graduating from West Point, even going to the moon."


- astronaut Frank Borman.


(Lenny Megliola is a Daily News columnist. His e-mail is lennymegs@aol.com)