The Mountain West Conference released its 2010 football schedule this afternoon, completing Air Force’s slate.
You can find the Falcons’ schedule by scrolling down to the previous post. Here are some initial thoughts on the sked:
1) For the second year in a row (and third time in four seasons) Air Force will not have a bye week.
That might seem like a big deal, but recent history suggests it isn’t. Air Force has fared fine with no byes, going 9-3 in 2007 and 7-5 in 2009. And the Falcons did better in the second halves of both those seasons (5-1 in ’07 and 4-2 in ’09), so it’s not like they ran out of gas.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun actually doesn’t mind playing 12 straight because it gives his team a chance to finish before Thanksgiving and get home for a break that week.
Also, I’ve always thought that at a place like the academy – where routine and schedule are such a part of the culture – a bye that interrupts the season could do more harm than good. The only time Air Force has had a bye since Calhoun has been here was in 2008. The Falcons lost their first game after the week off.
2) Lots of people don’t like Calhoun’s annual warm-up game against a Division I-AA patsy.
But I’m not sure I can object to it this season, considering what the Falcons get the next four weeks:
-Home against BYU, a team that has beaten Air Force six times in a row (Cougars’ average margin of victory in that stretch: 18.8 points)
-At Oklahoma, only one of the nation’s perennial powers.
-At Wyoming – a team that is rapidly improving under Dave Christensen and always gives Air Force a tough, physical challenge.
-Home against archrival Navy, a team that has beaten the Falcons seven times in a row.
There are high hopes for this Air Force team, and we’ll know pretty quickly if the Falcons will live up to those hopes.
3) Another tough stretch in late October when the Falcons play TCU in Fort Worth, where they’ve never beaten the Horned Frogs, and then return home to face Utah. The following week, it should be noted, the Falcons have to travel to the East Coast, where they’ll face Army in what’s always a physical game.
4) Last season the Falcons got some teams with new coaches early – facing New Mexico and San Diego State in weeks three and four, respectively. This season the lone team they play with a new coach is UNLV. And they don’t get the Rebels until the last week of the season.
5) Speaking of, it’s less than ideal to play a Thursday night game on the road – especially late. But at least Air Force plays at home the week before (cutting down on travel) and UNLV plays the week before too, so the Rebels won’t get extra time to prepare.