For the moment, we are going to pretend that the 2017 version of Air Force Falcons football didn’t exist.
We are going to go back to December 30th, 2016 and remember the moment the clock read all zeroes after Air Force defeated South Alabama 45-21 in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. A then sophomore quarterback Arion Worthman had just helped the Falcons complete their sixth victory in a row to finish off a 10-3 season and lots of promise built around young Worthman and his amazing triple option abilities.
There were concerns. The Falcons were losing almost everyone off their defense, including the player with the best name in college football, Weston Steelhammer. Also leaving was superstar wide receiver Jalen Robinette, but Worthman had the Falcon fans thinking good thoughts and raising hope despite the loss of some pretty terrific seniors. But, there was one thing that happened, while not as significant as the loss of talent, still might have played a role in the down 2017 campaign for the Falcons.
I left Mountain West Connection.
At this point I am sure you are all rolling your eyes, but before you write me off as a sad case of a fan thinking they are more important than they really are, let me make my case.
I started writing for the Connection in 2014. That season, the Falcons were hoping to recover from one of the most horrible seasons in team history. They had used four quarterbacks in route to a 2-10 season. But, the Falcons would rebound in a big way in 2014, going 10-3 and winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over a Western Michigan team that two seasons later would go undefeated in the regular season and earn a spot in the Cotton Bowl, one of the big boy bowls in today’s college football.
In 2015, the Falcons record would be up and down on their way to an 8-6 record, but there was some history in that season because the Falcons would play, and eventually lose, in the Mountain West championship versus San Diego State by a score of 27-24. They would then go on and face future first overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff and his Cal Bears in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Goff was in MVP form as he shredded the Falcons defense for a 55-36 victory.
The Falcons would get their 2nd 10 win season in 2016 along with their second bowl win in three years. That would wrap up one of the greatest three year stints in Air Force history. Along with the 28 victories, I never covered an Air Force loss to Boise State who many consider the standard of excellence in the Mountain West.
And then I left Mountain West Connection.
But I am happy to be back now covering a team I admire more than any other in college football. I have watched the Falcons battle with some of the elite programs in the nations since the 1980’s, and they have wins over programs like Texas, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. They are the little program that could, because these gentlemen are not just football players, but they are some of the best and brightest in the country who proudly serve this great country.
What does 2018 hold for Air Force? We will look at that in greater depth in the next few weeks as we inch closer to the season. What they have right now again is me, and I am definitely the one that is most excited about that bit of news. I am glad to be back covering this team for all of the Mountain West Connection fans out there. Thanks for welcoming me back.