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  • Tim Jefferson needs to deliver big game if Falcons want to drop Navy

    Fri, September 30, 2011 by David Ramsey with 3 comments

    Air Force arrives in Maryland as a slight underdog for Saturday’s game with Navy. The Falcons defense is depleted by injury. The Falcons have an unknown quality about them about two games that were barely games against South Dakota and Tennessee State and a nearly complete disaster against TCU.

    This is the game when the Falcons can make a statement about themselves and their future in 2011.

    This is a game when Tim Jefferson must deliver.

    I don’t see Air Force winning if this game is decided solely by ground attacks. Navy is at home and Navy will be attacking Air Force’s banged-up defense.

    Jefferson must make big plays through the air for Air Force to emerge as victors. Coach Troy Calhoun must show nerve and imagination in his play calling, and Jefferson must show accuracy. I think Air Force must crack the 150-yard barrier through the air if it wants to walk away as the winner of this game.

    What do you think?

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • Air Force to the Big East? Air Force going indy? Be careful

    Thu, September 22, 2011 by David Ramsey with 34 comments

    Geography matters. This is a truth of life. This is a truth currently ignored by many athletic directors and college presidents.

    Air Force might be preparing to bolt the Mountain West to join  The Big East as a football-only member. Air Force might be looking at joining Navy, Army and BYU as an independent. (Yes, I know Navy might join The Big East, too.)

    Falcons fans can currently take an easy drive to Wyoming, CSU and New Mexico and several hundred loyal fans typically take advantage of these quick, scenic journeys.

    Not too many easy drives await fans if the Falcons join The Big East.

    Road trips will become much more demanding and draining on the academy’s student/athletes. Please notice everyone always places student before athlete. In my view, academy athletes already face enough demands and drains while competing in the Mountain West. If academics are the priority, it makes little sense to join a conference where  many games will be two time zones away.

    Geography matters. Maybe not as much as cash, which has become awfully important in the amateur world of college sports, but geography remains important.

    Mike Gould and Hans Mueh can ignore this truth. At their own peril, of course.

    As for the independent route, it’s too easy. And, basically, it’s cowardly.

    For years, I listened to Fisher DeBerry gripe about Navy’s indy status. The Midshipmen could pick their opponents and always did a fantastic job of selecting cupcakes.

    No doubt, Navy has dominated service-academy football since 2003, but there’s something phony about the rest  of the academy’s recent success. The Midshipmen fattened up on cupcakes.

    Army and Navy are taking the wrong approach. Air Force is taking the more authentic, more courageous approach by competing in a real conference with real opponents.

    The moment Air Force goes indy, the academy’s athletics become less relevant, less bold and less admirable.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • Troy Calhoun talks about Eric Decker’s rise with the Broncos

    Wed, September 21, 2011 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Two years ago, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun was raving about a talented, calculating receiver from the University of Minnesota named Eric Decker.

    And Decker lived up to Calhoun’s praises when the Gophers defeated the Falcons in 2009.  Decker caught 10 passes for 113 yards in Minnesota’s 20-13 win.

    Decker has been one of the biggest surprises of the young NFL season for the Denver Broncos. He’s scored three of the Broncos five TDs this season, including two in Sunday’s 24-22 win  over the Bengals.

    “He was big. He was physical. He moved well enough,” Calhoun said. “He’s a specimen. He’s got great ball skills.

    “He’s a specimen, now. He’s an NFL receiver if you want size and bodies that last six, seven years when some of those smaller, little jitterbugs may last for three or four years.”

    Eddie Royal’s name did not come up during my conversation with Calhoun, but it might as well have come up. Royal, injured once again, lacks the brawn for a long career in the NFL.

    And Decker could become one of the great third-round steals in Broncos history.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • Join me, Frank Schwab and Joe Paisley in Wednesday’s live chat on Gazette.com

    Wed, September 21, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    This week, AFA beat writer Frank Schwab, columnist David Ramsey and college hockey reporter Joe Paisley will be on hand for the weekly Gazette sports chat at noon Mountain on Wednesday.

    You can also email questions and comments to joseph.paisley@gazette.com if you cannot be on hand during the hour-long event.  Look for the module to join in at gazette.com.

  • Navy’s near upset of South Carolina means Falcons face big trouble Oct. 1

    Mon, September 19, 2011 by David Ramsey with 12 comments

    Air Force faced a test against a Top 20 opponent.

    And got pounded by TCU.

    Navy faced a test against a Top 20 opponent.

    And nearly upset No. 10 South Carolina.

    Navy rushed for 274 yards and grabbed leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 21-17 before falling. This performance was in front of a hostile crowd at South Carolina.

    As Air Force prepares to tangle with Navy, you have to consider the Falcons slight underdogs. The Midshipmen have looked powerful, and they’ll be playing at home and they’re taking this week off.

    Meanwhile, the Falcons are struggling and they have a game this week. OK, the Falcons kind of have a game this week. Tennessee State will be thrilled to play within three touchdowns of the Falcons.

    Air Force and Navy ranks as one of the best rivalries in college football, even if it’s not recognized as such by much of the country. Games are always close. Game are always fierce.

    This season should follow that trend.

    Air Force begins what might be the toughest month in its football history with what should be a bruising journey to Maryland.

    Predictions?

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • What a shock: Fox says he doesn’t make Tebow decisions based on billboards

    Fri, September 16, 2011 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    First off, let me say I’ve written dozens, maybe hundreds, of stories similar to the one that appeared today in The Denver Post.

    John Fox says he’s not going to base any decisions on the planned billboards that will call for Tim Tebow to be elevated to starter.

    The question had to be asked. I understand that. I would have asked the question, too.

    But what was Fox going to say?

    Was he going to say he was driving around and heard on the radio that fans were planning to put up billboards and that it suddenly hit him that, yes, he would bench Kyle Orton and start Tebow … because of a billboard?

    Here’s the story:

    http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_18907703

  • More from Mueh and Bohn on possible renewal of AFA-CU football series

    Thu, September 15, 2011 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    Here’s more from Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh and CU athletic director Mike Bohn on the possible renewal of AFA-CU football series, which ended in 1974.

    (And here’s today’s column on the history – and the possible future – of the series. http://www.gazette.com/sports/football-124875-force-renew.html )

    HANS MUEH - “You probably already know the problem with this.  I’m old school. I was here when we had some of the ugliest games in the history of the academy at CU.

    Our fans got pelted with full cans and bottles and it was outright ugly.  The announcers were ugly.  So, we decided, we will never play them again.

    Now, it’s been a long time, I understand that. But I have the folks who played up there in those ugly years and those who played under Fisher DeBerry who don’t know anything. I get input from both sides and right now my position is I’m not going to tick off either side and the way to do that is not to play CU.

    But I’m  also one who never says never.”

    MIKE BOHN – ” I think the challenges that are going on now, with all the conference games, make it difficult. And we’re  currently involved with CSU on annual basis, and I say currently.

    That only leaves us two other games. To pull that together will be difficult.  I know Air Force loves to open up at home with parents weekend, and I understand that.

    But we clearly have an interest with building a relationship with Air Force and Wyoming.

    I think that any time you have the ability to play a service academy, there are intangibles that are beneficial to any program.

    I have  tremendous respect for Air Force. I worked there  for 81/2 years. The academy is very well respected, extremely competitive and in our own state. It would build further interest in college football.

    But it is complicated, and that’s not a cop out. It just is.

    But I am interested in some  kind of rotational game with Air Force.”

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • If Broncos lose to Bengals, does it make sense to stick with Kyle Orton?

    Tue, September 13, 2011 by David Ramsey with 15 comments

    No.

    If the Broncos fall to 0-2, coach John Fox should start looking to his bench and thinking about a new quarterback.

    Yes, I’m talking about Tim Tebow. And, yes, I’ve been critical of Tebow, skeptical about his readiness to attack NFL defenses.

    Fox is not a big risk-taker. He’s a cautious soul, which explains why he’s comfortable with Mr. No Flash himself, Orton.

    But if the Broncos remain firmly in the rebuilding mode, there’s little at risk if Tebow is given a chance. He showed flashes of all kinds of things last season in his three games as Broncos starter. His run for a touchdown against the Raiders were massively impressive. He resembled a combination Jim Brown and Peyton Hillis as he rampaged past Raiders defenders.

    His passing was not so special.

    Tebow may be really good. Or he may be really bad. But at least he has a chance to be really something. Orton is Mr. Middle-of-the-Road, Mr. Dull and Mr. Safe.

    So maybe, just maybe,  Tebow’s legion of supporters have a point. Maybe he is ready. Maybe he’s a winner who can lift this faltering franchise.

    I have my doubts.

    But if the Broncos fall to 0-2, there’s little risk in turning to Tebow. The Broncos will be headed to another losing  season, and giving Tebow a chance will at least add a smidgen of meaning and excitement to a painful 2011.

  • Can Air Force truly soar this season? We’ll find out Saturday vs. TCU

    Fri, September 9, 2011 by David Ramsey with 3 comments

    Air Force players have big goals for this season.

    Saturday’s struggle with TCU will reveal if these goals are realistic or unrealistic dreams.

    The Horned Frogs of 2011 are not the Horned Frogs of 2010. TCU is vulnerable, its defense a shadow of what it’s been. Baylor ransacked the Frogs last Friday.

    But TCU remains dangerous and talented. And coach Gary Patterson prepares as no other Mountain West coach prepares for Air Force’s option attack.

    If the Falcons get pounded, they don’t have to surrender all hope for journeys to Notre Dame and – scary, scary, scary – to Boise, but victories in those games become unlikely (in the case of Notre Dame) and highly unlikely (in the case of Boise State).

    In other words, a strong performance is needed, perhaps even required, if the Falcons want to retain their lofty hopes for 2011.

    It’s early, sure, but this is a huge game, perhaps the most important of the Troy Calhoun era.

    What do you think?

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • Please, Air Force fans, let’s be realistic about last year’s loss to TCU

    Thu, September 8, 2011 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Heard from a few Air Force fans who are seeking to put a revisionist history slant on last season’s 38-7 loss to TCU.

    These fans scold me when I say the Falcons got smacked-upside-the-head by the Horned Frogs.

    Don’t I remember, they ask, the Falcons trailed by only 10 points, 17-7, at the half? Don’t I remember Air Force marched 89 yards to a touchdown on its opening drive?

    Sure, I do.

    Also remember TCU dominated the second half. Also remember Air Force collected only 142 total yards after that impressive drive. Also remember TCU had 562 total yards.

    The Horned Frogs thumped the Falcons. The Horned Frogs won by 31 points. Yes, the Horned Frogs took a little time to establish dominance, but there’s no doubt they eventually dominated.

    Can the Falcons deliver an upset Saturday? Yes, but please don’t tell  me there’s anything encouraging to be found in last season’s defeat.

    There wasn’t.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz