The prank David Lore stumbled upon might have been funnier to him had he not understood all that would go into undoing it.
Walking through the Air Force Academy earlier this week after dinner the football player saw the dorm room furniture of an Army exchange cadet set up outside on the grass.
"I would have been pretty mad," Lore said, understanding that time is a precious commodity at a service academy. "You're trying to come back and get some homework done and then you're going to have to move it all back in pretty much by yourself."
This was not a bit of Halloween mischief, but rather evidence that the long-standing rivalry between Air Force and Army continues to exist even in a season in which the Falcons (1-7) have lost seven in a row and are out of contention for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy when they kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday.
"The Air Force cadets at Army are probably going through the same thing," Lore said.
This is as natural a rivalry as can exist between teams that aren't in the same state or conference. The Air Force sprang out of the Army Air Corps, and much of the early academy leadership comprised West Point graduates.
The programs also share the obvious similarities in terms of the demanding schedule for cadets, postgraduate commitment, and difficult admissions and conduct standards.
With similarities comes recruiting overlap, which places extra emphasis on this game. For Air Force it might be particularly important, since it was swept by Army and Navy last year and already lost to the Midshipmen this season. For years it held on-field supremacy among the service academies, winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy 17 times in 21 seasons between 1982 and 2002. Since 1995 the Falcons have outscored the Black Knights (3-5) by at least nine points on all but three occasions.
Now, after Army's 41-21 victory last year, momentum in the series has shifted.
"I do think in service academy recruiting," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said, "four out of five have a penchant already for knowing what they gravitate toward, I'm talking specifically career fields and how they want to serve in active duty. Those other 15 to 20 percent, that could play a factor."
Falcons senior tailback Anthony LaCoste was one of those recruited by both Army and Air Force, and the football prowess of the schools wasn't a driving factor in his decision.
"My parents thought it would be safer to be in the Air Force," LaCoste said, half joking. "I just liked it because it was closer to home. I have an uncle who lives out here, so it was just smaller things."
With so much intertwining, this will be a big game. Air Force desperately wants to break out of its funk and win for the first time since August.
Army can still take the series trophy, as it won't face Navy until the season finale.
"It's like a great high school rivalry," Air Force quarterback Nate Romine said, "but it's on a much bigger scale."