Air Force 2017 Schedule
The Falcons don’t have much in the way of local D1 teams to play. They have to travel as the only other D1 team in the state is Northern Colorado. They play the Bears two or three times a year but more than that gets old quickly. University of Colorado doesn’t have a team nor does Colorado State. I hear of no plans for those two schools to start up a team but as you read on, you’ll notice that one of the teams listed below (next to last entry) is a brand new team. They will take their lumps for a few years before they get experience. Anyway, Air Force has a real mixed bag of OOC opponents. Some good and some not so good. How they fare remains to be seen. Read on.
02/17/2017 - 19 at Army, LSU, and Tulane
Air Force is going to be spending a little time around New Orleans and Baton Rouge for these games. I know they’ll have little or no time to spend in New Orleans which is too bad as the food, if nothing else, is great. I gained a few pounds on a long weekend there a few years ago celebrating my wife’s birthday. What a great time. Anyway, baseball.
The Falcons, Army, and Navy spend a lot of time playing each other in a variety of sports, as well they should. Bragging rights and all. Army is in this tournament and Navy will be dealt with below.
The Black Knights (doncha just love that name?) had a poor year in 2016. I’m talking Army here. They were 16-32 and, you guessed it, the hitting was poor (.252) and so was the pitching (5.48). Tough to win with that staring you in the face. Army has not been really good in this and other sports for a few years and that is sad in my book. Then again, they were 33-18 in 2014 which is pretty good so I’ll guess I’ll shut up. Thumbs up as this is a service rivalry, by golly.
LSU is, as always, good. They were a mediocre 45-21 in 2016. Yes, I’m joking. C’mon, get a grip; you know they’re always good. They could hit (.295), had pop (46 home runs), and pitching was more than decent for an SEC team (3.97). Needless to say they made it to a regional, which they won, and were eliminated by eventual national champion Coastal Carolina in two games. Two close games and, if you’re going to lose, lose to the best. Thumbs up.
Tulane is on again off again program. The Green Wave, another good name, was an excellent 41-21 last year and I’d call that on again. They were 2-2 in the Oxford Regional as they lost twice to Boston College. Their hitting was sub-par (.264) but was more than made up for by the home runs. They had 66 (!) to the opponents’ 22. Now that’s some discrepancy. They had four guys in double figures and three with nine dingers. A pitcher’s nightmare. Pitching was pretty good at 3.25 which will always keep you in a game waiting for someone to hit a three-run home run. Thumbs up.
2/24 - 26 at Navy
The Middies (ANOTHER great name) went a great 43-16-1 in 2016 and that was based on good hitting (.298) and pitching (3.20). That’s a hard to beat combo. Yes, indeed, they made it to a regional where they went 1-2 and the two losses were against NC State. These games are a definite thumbs up.
3/7 - 8 Crieighton
I started following the Blue Jays a few years back when they had this great lefty named Ty Blach. I thought he might turn into something and he did. The Giants drafted him and he threw a tense shutout against the Dodgers at the end of the season when they needed a win to make the wild card. He bested Clayton Kershaw 1-0 in that game and got the attention of a lot of people, me included. The guy throws strikes and walks few which pitching coaches and fans just love. So much for that. The Blue Jays continued their winning ways last season when they went 38-17. Not enough to get them into a regional as I suspect they lost in a conference tournament semifinal which usually is a kiss of death to a mid major one bid league. Too bad as they deserved a better fate. Oh, well, there’s always a sixth place SEC team that needs to go. I’ll finish with they didn’t hit much (.263) but the pitching was excellent (3.15). I’m guessing some of those arms return. Thumbs up.
3/14 - 15 Portland
I've always liked the Pilots but they've been mired in the pits for quite awhile. In year's past they had some beautiful pitching and were still lowly as the hitting was just as poor as the pitching was great. Anyway, they were 17-37 in 2016. Couldn't hit. Couldn't pitch. Works every time. Thumbs down.
3/28 - 29 at Omaha and Creighton
The Omaha Mavericks are a member of the Summit Conference. They finished an average 28-28 and 18-12 in conference. That tells me the OOC portion of their schedule beat them up a bit. They could hit (.292) but so could the opposition (5.08) and you know how I feel about the importance of pitching. Of the three top hitters two are gone and their ace of the rotation is also gone. This means a lot of players need to step up this year and it also means the first year coach has his work cut out for him. Thumbs sideways.
3/31 - 4/2 at Northwestern
The Wildcats did not have an enjoyable year in 2016 as they went 15-39. That’s hard to take. I’m assuming they spent a lot of the early season on the road as they are a snow belt team. Anyway, they didn’t hit (.259) and the pitching was atrocious (6.29). Nuff said. Thumbs down.
4/4 ( and 11, 25) Northern Colorado
I live about 35 miles away from Greeley, the home of the Bears. If the Spartans were paying them a visit, I’d be there in a heartbeat. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. They are a snow belt team and spend the early part of the season on the road which leads to stinky records. Last year they were 16-34 overall but were just about .500 in the WAC. The Bears started the season 3-11 with all of those games on the road. I think that gives you an idea of what they deal with each season. It’s a tough life being a mid-major snow belt team. This season? The first ten games on the road including these two. This team had a tough time at bat (.251) and on the mound (5.99). It’s hard for me to be tough on what is now “my” team but a thumbs down is what I’m giving this matchup.
4/18 - 19 Omaha
5/2 University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Here’s a team I didn’t know existed. They are in a DII conference called the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and a good portion of the teams are in Colorado (well, duh) and a few in the Dakotas, Utah, and New Mexico. Anyway, pretty cool. Colorado School of Mines is in the conference and if you’ve ever hand to negotiate Denver airport you’ve seen a big ad for that school. So there. But wait, there’s more. This will be their first year; ever. Yes, folks, this will be a young team. His two classes signed were mostly high schoolers but I suspect he will go the juco route for most of his roster which is not posted at this time. No surprise. I always think it’s an ok thing for a D1 team to play a lower division team but this is a doozy. Still, good experience for everyone. I remember my juco team playing a prison team. You read that right. It wasn’t as bad as you might think. Back to business. This should be a bloodless killing. The Falcons baseball team is the only team I’ve written up so far that has even played a DII team or lower. Anyway, thumbs down. Good luck Mountain Lions.
5/18 - 20 at Charleston Southern
The Buccaneers were 19-34 last season. They hit ok (.272) and pitched ok (4.65) so why such a bad record? I guess you had to be there. Anyway, mediocre stats and a bad record. I will say this in their favor; they played Coastal Carolina in a three game series and took one game but got spanked in the other two. Go figure. Thumbs down.