If you’re an Air Force fan, nothing should concern you more than the Falcons’ dismal performance against the teams they used to dominate in the Mountain West.
Entering this season, Troy Calhoun owned a 26-6 career mark against Colorado State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming. Throw in a 6-0 cakewalk through FCS teams and a 5-1 record against Army, and right there you have 37 of Calhoun’s career victories. Against everyone else, the Falcons had gone 10-24.
This year Air Force went winless in the conference, as those teams that had for so long been chasing the Falcons not only caught them, but they sped around them, kicked them on the shins and left them in the dust.
CSU, UNLV and Wyoming outscored Air Force by an average of 52-19. New Mexico never punted in a 45-37 victory. The two teams that the Falcons played to the wire – Nevada and San Diego State – won by outscoring them by a combined 42-7 in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons did manage to beat Army, but it took a near-record day from Anthony LaCoste and the best half of the season from the defense to make it happen.
This was a bizarre season, no doubt. The Falcons went through four starting quarterbacks, dealt with uncertainty for several weeks through a government shutdown, lost a number of key players to concussions, had only a handful of contributing seniors, saw freshmen lead them in receiving and passing, allowed more first downs than anyone in the nation and saw a runner who had just 163 yards at the season’s midway point make a late push that came up just short of 1,000 yards.
It was a strange year, but nothing was more unexpected than the sudden reversal of positions with what for so long had been the bottom tier in the conference.