At least Air Force doesn’t have to worry about bloated expectations this year. ESPN.com and CBSSports.com each have put out their bowl projections, and Air Force is not listed on either of them. There are 35 bowls, so just about every team with a winning record should be invited to the postseason. So it’s clear the national media doesn’t figure that Air Force will be much of a factor this season.
That happens when a team loses 16 starters, and has five other potential key contributors are dropped from the team before training camp, which is the situation the Falcons are facing. ESPN.com had two of its writers do bowl projections, and Air Force didn’t make either list (though Army and Navy made both). CBSSports.com’s list was done by Jerry Palm, a noted and respected numbers guru.
An easy schedule won’t hurt the Falcons’ quest for bowl eligibility, and Air Force probably wouldn’t get left out if it is eligible because it sells a lot of tickets. The Falcons have been to a bowl game in every one of Troy Calhoun’s first five seasons as Falcons coach including 2007 – when his team blew past preseason expectations to finish second in the Mountain West and go to a bowl.
(UPDATE: I hadn’t seen that SI.com had posted its bowl projections today, and Stewart Mandel did have Air Force in, going to the Armed Forces Bowl.)