Best Case Scenario:
A 10 win season and getting into the top three is the dream season for the Falcons. What the Falcons will need to do is end their five game losing streak to Navy, beat either Utah, TCU, BYU or win their bowl game. The potential problem in that is that Air Force travels to Navy, BYU, and Utah. BYU has won 18 games in a row at home, and Utah has won eleven straight.
Those wins are not impossible to win, because Air Force plays Navy close because of the rivalry of the game, they played Utah to within seven last year, the BYU game was close for most of the game, and then TCU was not close last year but the Falcons did beat them the last time they came to Colorado Springs in 2007.
The Falcons have the offense and an experienced quarterback Tim Jefferson who played a lot as a freshman, and should make a huge leap from his frosh season to his sophomore season. They also return Asher Clark who will split time between quarterback and tail back; the Air Force rushing offense was sixth in the nation last year. If the running game does improve with the returning experience a 10 win season and a potential chance of a top 25 season is possible.
Worst Case Scenario:
The defense needs help and with the loss of both starting defensive ends -- Ryan Kemp and Jake Paulson -- the Falcons will need to find players to take over their production. Other problems could be the quarterback position that was juggled during the off-season with Tim Jefferson not participating in spring ball and some of the summer workouts because of academic issues. Even though Jefferson started most of last year he was still a freshman last year.
A record of 6-6 is the worst case for the Falcons.
The road games are difficult with games at Minnesota, BYU, Navy, and Utah all of which could be losses. The Minnesota game is the opener of their new stadium and the emotion of that game could give the edge to the Gophers. Also, include that Gophers return their leading rusher, and counter that with the Falcons are replacing most of their line.
They have not beaten Navy in five seasons, road games at Utah, and BYU are a real possibility of loses because of the recruiting talent these schools have in compared to Air Force. The home games that are possible loses are TCU who are the conference favorites, and then dark horse darlings UNLV who get Air Force at the end of the year when they have worn down from the requirements of the Academy.
Not a chance: None
50/50: @New Mexico, San Diego State, Navy, TCU, @Utah, @Colorado State, UNLV, @BYU
Lock it up: Nicholls State, Wyoming, and Army
Projected Record: 8-4