Five Thoughts On Air Force's 2010 Football Schedule

Jake SchallerContributor IApril 7, 2010

The Mountain West Conference released its 2010 football schedule last week, completing Air Force’s slate.

Here it is:

Date      Opponent, time
Sept. 4   vs. Northwestern State, noon
Sept. 11  vs. BYU, 2 p.m.
Sept. 18  at Oklahoma, TBD
Sept. 25  at Wyoming, noon
Oct. 2    vs. Navy, 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 9    vs. Colorado State, noon
Oct. 16   at San Diego State, 6 p.m.
Oct. 23   at TCU, 6 p.m.
Oct. 30   vs. Utah, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 6    at Army, 10 a.m.
Nov. 13   vs. New Mexico, 4 p.m.
Nov. 18   at UNLV, 8 p.m. (Thursday night)
Note: All times Mountain

Five thoughts on the schedule:

1) For the second year in a row (and third time in four seasons) Air Force will not have a bye week.

That's not ideal, but the Falcons have handled it well in recent years. With no byes, Air Force went 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).

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 Troy 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 arch rival 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. And it always helps to play teams with new coaches early in the season before they've gotten their systems and schemes completely entrenched.

This season the lone team the Falcons 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.