History is littered with people that willed themselves into a specific job, despite seemingly long odds. I could cite some of the more familiar examples in recent history, like Abraham Lincoln or that guy that stole McDonald’s from the guys that started McDonald’s, but I won’t. These men and women are inaccessible to me from an emotional standpoint. I couldn’t possibly know what they were really thinking or if their stories are as genuinely inspirational as they seem.
Instead, I take my inspiration from the GOAT of making your own fortune, Pamela Beesly-Halpert. Pam saw a need for an office administrator, so she just made it up and filled it herself. She did it with such trickery and aplomb (sorry, Gabe) that it has confused people to the point of seeking answers in a place where no knowledge exists, online message boards. For me, it has left a deep impression on my soul all these years later.
If Pam can put herself into a job that doesn’t exist, why can’t I become the Official Mountain West Conference Czar of Non-Conference Scheduling™? If I say something loudly enough and put it on the internet, it is legally binding. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m the new Non-Con Schedule Czar (NCSC for short, and yes it is pronounced “nick-sick”)!
Over the coming weeks I will assess each team’s future schedules through the 2025 season and fill in the gaps where they have yet to lock down an opponent. I’ll start with Air Force and make my way through the conference in alphabetical order (as if there was any other option, this is science after all!).
My methodology? None of your business. It’s proprietary (not to mention incomplete and altogether lacking any sort of analytical rigor).
Anyway, let’s talk about Air Force.
Confirmed Games Through 2025
Not bad, not bad. We here at MWC Connection are profoundly pro-America, so we believe that the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy games are both a beautiful and necessary addition to every Air Force schedule. Also —due to both teams running triple option offenses—those games only take about three hours to play, thereby giving our troops more time to protect our nation. It’s a win-win.
2021 sees the Falcons play three non-con home games, a rare feat around these parts. By the way, that is not Louisiana-Lafayette on the schedule. It is the FCS Lafayette Leopards of Easton, Pennsylvania. Plan accordingly.
Is there a game on this list that the Falcons couldn’t win? Whatever this schedule lacks in excitement, it more than makes up for in potential 10-win seasons. Given that Air Force has already secured winnable games, we are mostly focused on upping the star power for their remaining games. We’ve also got to address some scheduling realities, so there will be some FCS and G5 games thrown in as well.
NCSC-Approved Games Through 2025
2020 is pretty soon to not have a fourth opponent scheduled, cadets! Speaking of cadets, did you know that at the Virginia Military Institute, the athletes are called Keydets? Did you know the FCS Keydets don’t have their final football game scheduled next year either? INTERESTING! Anyway, this is my way of saying that we are scheduling ANOTHER service academy for you next year. AFA will host VMI, probably some time in September.
2022 presents a somewhat difficult problem. The Falcons already have a P5 home game on the schedule (nice job snagging a home-and-home with the Buffaloes, by the way), but are in need of a road game. Fortunately, your omnipotent NCSC has something prepared for these scenarios.
Option 1: Take money for a one-off P5 road game.
Option 2: Schedule a 2-for-1 with a P5 team
Option 3: Agree to a home-and-home with a lower-caliber P5 team or a G5 team.
Option 4: Play an FCS team at home and give yourself seven home games.
Given that Air Force will be coming off a 2021 schedule with three non-con home games, we are taking the P5 “money game” route for 2022. Games are scheduled so far into the future now that we are left with limited options. There is, however, one big name that always needs to fill additional spots. Notre Dame is in need of home opponents for 2022, and can pay handsomely to bring the Falcons into town. After a sort of “meh” offering for 2021 opponents, 2022 will be filled with marquee names.
As we get into 2023, we finally have some breathing room to work in some home-and-home arrangements. To start, we are locking down a home game in Colorado Springs against UTSA in 2023, with a return trip to San Antonio in 2024. But why UTSA? Glad you asked!
- There is a heavy Air Force presence in San Antonio, so this is a way to ensure a great turnout in the Alamo Dome for both the home team and the visiting cadets. Furthermore, Air Force recruits Texas quite heavily, and this will give the coaches a chance to promise recruits a game in their home state for family and friends.
- After a brutal 2022 schedule, UTSA is a step up from FCS teams or FBS cellar dwellers without risking an overly difficult away game.
- San Antonio is an amazing, underrated weekend getaway and I have no shame in boldly recommending this game to every AFA fan in the country as a great long weekend. Hit the Riverwalk, go see The Alamo, take a tour of the five San Antonio missions, or find something else to do in America’s favorite forgotten city.
To wrap up 2024 we will need to add an FCS game in Colorado Springs. As your Schedule Czar, I like to keep things regional with FCS games. Northern Colorado would be my first choice, but they are already playing at Colorado State that year and they typically don’t schedule two FBS road games in a year. Nearby Dixie State should be a cheap addition to the schedule and will be in need of games as an FCS independent. Enjoy the win, Falcons!
All that’s left now is 2025. Air Force has the chance to do pretty much whatever it wants with schedules this far out, and your benevolent Czar has some great ideas in mind. To start, we are going to lock down a home-and-home arrangement with Nebraska. The Falcons will travel to Lincoln in 2025, and host the Huskers the following year. Nebraska will travel well to Colorado Springs and the Falcons will get some nice experience and media exposure when they play in the Sea of Red.
Will Nebraska agree to a home-and-home with Air Force? They have to, or risk enraging a foe with air superiority!
Seriously though, I think you can sell Nebraska on a winnable road game with a chance for their players and fans to get a tour of a military academy. Army has had some success in this area, with home games against Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Wake Forest on the schedule in future years. If this were to fail, we could look at a team like Washington State as a replacement.
To wrap up 2025, Air Force will finally get a chance to host Northern Colorado. These two teams are separated by only 60-ish miles, but have played just twice all-time (both were AFA victories). 2025 may just be the best schedule Air Force has on this whole list, which is exactly why you hire a Schedule Czar (looking at you, Craig Thompson)!
Falcons New Schedules Through 2025
As always, I am nothing if not a man of the people. If you think Air Force should schedule differently in the future, please send your thoughts to email@example.com. Or you could comment below.