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Mountain West football race could be affected by government shutdown

The Mountain West football race could take a bizarre turn if the government shutdown puts Air Force football on the bench.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The government shutdown could cause an interesting turn of events for Mountain West play if the Air Force football team is sidelined if the shutdown is an extensive one. The Air Force vs. Navy game is already up in the air for its game status.

This is an unprecedented event for the Mountain West if Air Force has to miss games. We reached out to the Mountain West conference by asking how will the conference race be determined if the Falcons can not play league games.

The response was generic and offered little insight:

While that is a good question, we do not want to get into hypotheticals just yet. We continue to monitor the situation with the Air Force Academy and all MW member institutions and will discuss those types of situation if it comes about.

The league is taking its time and may have a better idea of how to proceed once the clock strikes noon ET which is when a decision will be made on Saturday's Air Force vs. Navy. Even if the decision is to play that game there could be an effect on Air Force home games, because the official word is that all intercollegiate sporting events involving a service academy have been put on hold.

If Air Force starts to miss conference play then a whole set of more questions need to be answered by the league. Will those games just be forfeited or will they be considered a no-contest with neither team taking a win or a loss. The decision on how to treat games where Air Force might have to sit out will have a trickle down affect to bowl eligibility and how to determine a division champion if teams play just seven conference games.

Air Force still has four conference games left on the schedule and the next game is hosting San Diego State on Oct. 10, then at New Mexico on Nov. 8, hosting UNLV on Nov. 21 and at Colorado State on Nov. 30. Plus there are games against Notre Dame and Army  at home on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.

Hopefully, the government shutdown does not shut down Air Force football for an extended period of time, but the Mountain West needs to have many moves in place if Air Force does miss some football games. Rescheduling will be a nightmare, but Air Force does have two bye weeks in front of them on Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. Maybe, if things get desperate they could play a conference game on Dec. 7 if it does not affect who would be in the conference title game, and based on who they play the rest of the way within the conference that should not be an issue.

Just maybe the United States government will get its act together to end the shutdown and allow a lot of people to head back to work and also to give the fans more college football.

The last government shutdown occurred back in 1995 for 21 days, and when Air Force hosted Notre Dame that year the game was able to be played due to help from Colorado State, Notre Dame and others. While home games are not canceled, but this time around Air Force does not think that can happen again due to lack of support staff.

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