• Update from Hughes Stadium

    Sat, October 13, 2007 by admin with 1 comment

    Officials at Colorado State have announced the start of today’s Air Force-CSU game has been postponed from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

    Heavy rains, lightning and a problem with the stadium lights kept players off the field and prompted the delay. Athletic directors from both schools met at 3 p.m. and decided on the 4:15 start.

    I think 4:15 might be a tad optimistic. It’s 3:30 as I’m writing this, and about 20 Air Force players just ran onto the field. Some aren’t even in full pads yet. Not sure if they can warm up in 45 minutes. We’ll see.

    Ugly, ugly day here in Fort Collins – gray skies, rain, cool air. But the rain seems to have stopped. And the field here at Hughes Stadium is synthetic turf – just like at the academy – so it won’t be a total mess.

    There are about 10 fans in the stands, total, and there are a whole bunch of cars making their way out of the parking lot.

    It will be interesting to see what effect – if any – this delay and the weather has on the game. This is a pretty big one for the Falcons. Win this, and they’re looking really, really good for a bowl game.

  • Reeling BlogDog

    Fri, October 12, 2007 by admin with 6 comments

    I can’t have a discussion about tomorrow’s Air Force-Colorado State game without somebody bringing up the losing streak.

    “What is the problem?”

    “How could a master of the game go on such a slide?”

    “Do you think it will cost him his job?”

    “Have you seen any columns calling for his resignation?”

    And when I answer by saying I thought Colorado State would be a dark horse contender for the league title this year and that I have no idea how Sonny Lubick could lose 12 straight, I always get the same reaction:

    “No, no, no. Not Colorado State’s losing streak. The BlogDog’s.”

    Indeed. While the Rams not having won a game for more than an entire calendar year is a bit shocking, it’s nothing compared to the BlogDog’s recent slide. After becoming an almost overnight sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of Air Force’s first two games, the BlogDog has been wrong on three of his past four predictions, including his last two. It’s an almost unfathomable fall from grace.

    (Note: If you’re a college football fan, and you haven’t yet heard of the BlogDog – which is like a rock aficionado not having heard of The Beatles – let me bring you up to speed. As a beat writer, I am not allowed to predict the outcome of games. So my dog, Norm, is doing it.

    Here’s how: I put a mini-replica Air Force helmet and the mini-replica helmet of the opponent the Falcons are facing that week in front of Norm. Whichever one Norm goes to first – best three out of five times – is the team he thinks is going to win. If Norm picks the same helmet three times in a row, he’s thinking blowout. If he chooses one team three times and the other team once, he’s thinking the game will be decided by about seven to 10 points. If he chooses one team three times and the other one twice, he’s predicting a close game.

    Now, I’ve got to be honest, I’m a little worried that the losing streak has BlogDog rattled. For the third straight week he’s picking a road underdog. Not only that, Norm went to the Air Force helmet three times in a row. Somebody’s streak is ending Saturday. Either Colorado State’s or the BlogDog’s.

    Norm’s Pick: Air Force 28, Colorado State 6

    Norm’s Record: 3-3

    BlogDog looks to end his streak.

  • DeBerry at CSU?

    Thu, October 11, 2007 by admin with 2 comments

    Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick told reporters at his Monday news conference that former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry told him a few weeks ago that he might attend Saturday’s game.

    Doesn’t look like it.

    Air Force sports information director Troy Garnhart said he spoke with DeBerry on Wednesday. Garnhart said DeBerry told him he’d be in Colorado today for a speaking engagement but was leaving for Oklahoma on Friday to visit his grandchildren and would not attend Saturday’s game at Colorado State

    DeBerry hopes to be at the academy for the Falcons’ game against Army on Nov. 3, Garnhart said. That would make sense, as former Air Force coach and recruiting coordinator Jim Bowman, one of DeBerry’s close friends, will be honored that weekend.

  • Hall Named Player of the Week

    Mon, October 8, 2007 by admin with 7 comments

    Air Force senior Chad Hall was named the Mountain West Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in the Falcons’ 31-14 victory over UNLV on Saturday night.

    Hall caught a team-high four passes for 44 yards and rushed for a career-high 169 yards on 18 carries (9.4 yards per carry) – the most rushing yards by a non-quarterback at the academy in a game since 1991.

    The question surrounding Hall the entire season has been whether he is touching the ball enough since moving from halfback to Z receiver. But Troy Calhoun has made a concerted effort the past two games to get Hall the ball more. He had 22 “touches” on Saturday night, the most he’s had in a game this year.

    Hall is the first Falcon to earn a MWC Player of the Week honor since senior inside linebacker Drew Fowler was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Air Force’s 20-12 victory over Utah on Sept. 8.

  • BlogDog Rolls the Dice

    Fri, October 5, 2007 by admin with 3 comments

    You know those paintings of dogs playing poker?

    If BlogDog was in those, he’d be pushing all-in pre-flop with nothing more than an icy stare and a pair of 3s as his hole cards.

    Translation for the non-Texas Hold ‘Em inclined: He’s not afraid to take chances.

    Case in point is this week’s pick. Air Force is a 5.5-point favorite at home. But BlogDog’s taking UNLV. It’s the second straight week he’s turned his back on the oddsmakers. But what can you say? He’s got a thing for underdogs.

    (Note: For those of you who are just discovering this blog, my dog, Norm, is predicting the winner of each Air Force game this season. Here’s how he does it: I put a mini-replica Air Force helmet and the mini-replica helmet of the opponent the Falcons are facing that week in front of him. Whichever one Norm goes to first – best three out of five times – is the one he thinks is going to win.)

    If Norm picks the same helmet three times in a row, he’s thinking blowout. If he chooses one team three times and the other team once, he’s thinking the game will be decided by about seven to 10 points. If he chooses one team three times and the other one twice, he’s predicting a close game.)

    Here’s how it unfolded this week. Norm went to the Air Force helmet first, then the UNLV helmet, then the Air Force helmet, then the UNLV helmet . . . then the UNLV helmet.

    Norm’s Pick: UNLV 28, Air Force 27
    Norm’s Record: 3-2

    BlogDog: Viva Las Vegas

  • Enemy Lines: Postscript

    Wed, October 3, 2007 by admin with 6 comments

    Before I get to UNLV, I thought I’d post two more installments of Enemy Lines with my friend Christian Swezey from The Washington Post to wrap up the Navy game. I’ll be posting his response later. To see our pregame exchanges, scroll down to parts 1-4 below.

    Jake Schaller Wrote: Sweze – So that’s five in a row for the Midshipmen. And, as you pointed out in your article in Sunday’s Post, this might have been Air Force’s best shot to beat Navy for the next few years. All but 44 of Air Force’s 474 total yards on Saturday were picked up by seniors (Travis Dekker actually is now being listed as a junior, as he was given a medical turnback and has one more year of eligibility remaining). Navy, meantime, had a bunch of underclassmen making big-time contributions on both sides of the ball.

    Last Saturday’s game was difficult for a lot of Air Force fans to swallow because the Falcons out-gained Navy and held the ball longer than the Midshipmen. Air Force moved the ball up and down the field but faltered in the red zone. And that leads to a lot off “what-iffing.”

    -What if Shaun Carney hadn’t made a bad pitch that resulted in a loss of 11 yards deep in Navy territory on Air Force’s second drive of the game?

    -What if Ryan Harrison had made that 41-yard field goal?

    -What if the Falcons had stopped just one of Navy’s two fourth-down conversions on the drive during which the Midshipmen took the lead for good?

    -What if Air Force hadn’t self-destructed with those three penalties that took it out of scoring range in the fourth quarter?

    There are plenty more. And they all provide evidence for the “Air Force lost, Navy didn’t win” argument that many around the academy have made the last five years. But the way I see it, those arguments work for a year, maybe two. But five? It’s habit now. There’s a reason why Navy is making the big/important plays and Air Force is not.

    So, why do you think it’s Navy making the plays? Confidence from winning a bunch in a row?

    And, also, wanted to get your take on Air Force. Do you think the Falcons can rebound and challenge for a conference title or at least a bowl bid? I think a lot of people are starting to wonder if the first three games of the season were a bit of a mirage. Air Force beat Utah on a day when the Utes did not have their top quarterback, running back or receiver. And the Falcons beat a TCU team that was without Aaron Brown. Maybe that fast start was more emotion, surprise (with AF’s new offensive and defensive philosophies) and a lot of breaks going Air Force’s way. Guess we’ll find out more this week.