Can the Falcons really be at the top this season?
The start of the 2022 college football season seems less and less distant. There has been quite a bit of activity for the Air Force Falcons after a lull in action following spring camp that ended almost five months ago.
In case you haven’t been following, a number of Falcons have been named to various prestigious preseason awards and All Conference nominee watch lists. This coincided well with the recent conclusion of Mountain West’s Media Days. Prior to each of these announcements was the release of the 2022 Air Force football schedule.
pulse control time. We are approaching the football season. If you’re a fan of the United States Air Force Academy, your BPM should officially be elevated as this could be a special season in Colorado Springs.
Do not believe me? What about a credible college football insider like Brett McMurphy with Action Network HQ? The Falcons appear so poised to dominate that McMurphy guarantees the Air Force will win every game on the schedule.
Ok, enough with the exaggeration, maybe there wasn’t a promise of an unbeaten season, but the Falcons were in pretty good company for an interesting take. Next season, the Air Force will be one of six teams to be preferred in every game this year. Even for the USAFA optimist, running the table on schedule is a pretty tall order.
I’d tell you there’s not a game on the schedule the Falcons can’t win (see the Utah State Aggies vs. Alabama matchup), but that doesn’t mean they should. The college football season is an ordeal for any team, but that’s especially true for the military academies, which have a lot more to deal with than the rest of the college landscape. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the limitations only cadets face that go well beyond the obvious of combat training, do yourself a favor and explore. It’s as interesting as it is humbling. Or at least humbling to have a healthy appreciation for this humble Penn State grad.
What stands out?
There are definitely more impressive matchups than lower resistance games this year. While it’s favored against teams like Boise State, Colorado (Boulder) and Utah State, it may all seem a little surprising; The Falcons have had some success against them lately. With a highly experienced team emerging from a double-digit winning campaign, it’s not irrational to force the Air Force as a favorite.
There are a few games that seem a bit over the top to favor the Falcons once you really get into the details. There’s no team more upset about being an underdog on this schedule than San Diego State. The Aztecs are currently on a nine-game winning streak against the Air Force that stretches back to 2010, with their most recent win coming last year.
To put their recent dominance into context; Prior to that most recent winning streak, which spanned a decade, San Diego State had won just nine of its first 28 against the Falcons. This was a real twist in this conference matchup. If the Falcons are to end this losing streak, they must do so under difficult circumstances. They face the Aztecs in their last regular season game of the year.
The Air Force regularly digs deep into its depth chart until the end of the season. No one knows the grueling season, but that’s especially true for the undersized, overworked, and absent-minded military academy teams.
Speaking of military teams, let’s talk about the army. In particular, it is questionable why he is preferred over the West Point football team. In 2022, as in most years, the Air Force will have a roster that appears more experienced, talented, and comprehensive than New York’s Jeff Monken’s crew. Somehow that formula hasn’t resulted in wins in four of the last five seasons.
So it’s not surprising that the Air Force would be favored over the Army in a neutral location game based on their respective teams’ 2022 start to the season. A more talented and complete top-down roster (which the Air Force currently has) secures nothing against their bitter rivals.
The whole notion of Air Force being favored in most games, let alone the overall schedule, is quite a dichotomy. The Falcons will not play against a team they are “better” than by today’s recruiting metrics. Still, it can make sense to be preferred in some games. But for the full schedule, one with as many talented opponents as the 2022 fashions? This is a testament to what Troy Calhoun, his staff and players have achieved.
The Air Force may not go undefeated this year. But there isn’t a team on their schedule that the Falcons can’t hang an L on. And I promise you, none of these teams will look past the Falcons either.
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Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire