2011 Record: (7-6, 3-4 in MWC)
Head Coach: Troy Calhoun (41-24 at Air Force, 24-15 in MWC)
Last Bowl Game: 2012 Military Bowl: lost to Toledo 42-41
Three Year Coaching Trend: 8-5 overall, 4.3 wins and 3.3 losses in MWC
Big Name Opponent: 9/8 at Michigan
Must Win: 9/1 vs Idaho State, 9/22 at UNLV, 10/20 vs New Mexico
Service Academy Games: 10/6 vs Navy, 11/3 at Army
Stat to Cheer: 19 rushing plays of 30 or more yards (tied for 3rd in Nation)
Stat to Fear: Allowed opponents to convert 50.27% of third downs (115th in Nation)
Phil Steele’s Returning Starters: (Offense: 3; Defense: 3; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Alex Means (77 tackles, 6 sacks), LB Jamil Cooks (50 tackles, 2.5 sacks)
Key Offensive Returnees: RB Mike DeWitt (567 yds, 12 TD), RB Wes Cobb (425 yds, 4 TD), OT Jason Kons, OG Jordan Eason
Anytime you lose as many starters as the Falcons did last year, it’s a concern. The bigger concern is the loss of QB Tim Jefferson. The good news is that they do have a fifth year senior, Connor Dietz, replacing him. Dietz only threw fifteen passes last year but he did gain over 200 yards on the ground. Air Force also has a couple of good running backs returning so I would bank on Air Force being able to continue to execute their offense.
If there is one thing you can bank on in the Mountain West, it’s Troy Calhoun and Air Force winning more than they lose. Calhoun has been on the job for five years and he’s had a winning record every year. Last year, Air Force fell a little short of expectations as they finished 7-6 which was their worst record under Calhoun. Despite losing a ton of starters, I would expect Calhoun to re-energize the troops and make sure that at worst they maintain their stature in the Mountain West.
2012 Prediction: 7-5
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