ADD TV TO THESE
Air Force has a unique schedule that includes two games on Thursdays, another on a Friday and what coach Troy Calhoun calls the toughest home schedule ever for a service academy.
Colgate (first meeting between programs)
At Air Force, 1 p.m., Sat., Aug. 31
Falcons open with their annual foray into FCS, which is the big reason Troy Calhoun owns a 6-0 record in openers that includes a 288-62 point disparity. Don't assume this one will be quite so easy, as Colgate's longtime coach Dick Biddle owns a 133-65 career mark.
Utah State (first meeting between programs)
At Air Force, 1:30 p.m., Sat., Sept. 7
Storylines abound in this one. Utah State will be making its Mountain West debut. The Aggies' star quarterback, Chuckie Keeton, had once committed to Air Force. Utah State coach Matt Wells spent five years at Navy. Oh, and these teams are predicted to duke it out for second behind Boise State in the Mountain Division. Should be a fun one.
Boise State (Boise State leads series 1-0)
At Boise State, 6 p.m., Fri., Sept 13
Among the many perks the Broncos received in staying in the Mountain West was the ability to wear their blue home uniforms on their famous blue home turf. The conference favorites - who went 11-2 last year with the two losses by a combined six points - will bust out the blue unis in this one.
Wyoming (Air Force leads series 27-21-3)
At Air Force, time TBA, Sat., Sept 21
Last year's obscenity-laced postgame tirade delivered by Wyoming coach Dave Christensen at Calhoun surely won't be forgotten by either side. On a lighter note, this will be the final chance for locals to see Palmer product Dominique Rufran, a standout receiver for the Cowboys, play in the Pikes Peak region.
Nevada (Air Force leads series 1-0)
At Nevada, 5:30 p.m., Sat., Sept. 28
Longtime coach Chris Ault left after last season, ending an on-again, off-again Hall of Fame run in Reno that spanned 40 years. The Wolf Pack skidded to a 1-5 finish at the end of last year, including a pair of one-point losses. New coach Brian Polian has no warm-up period, as Nevada travels to UCLA and Florida State over the first three weeks.
Navy (Air Force leads series 27-18)
At Navy, 9:30 a.m., Sat., Oct. 5
Three of the past four games in this heated series have gone to overtime, with the winner each time going on to claim the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy. Sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds gives the Midshipmen flexibility with his diversified skill set, so expect a bit more balance to an attack that will still lean heavily on the run. This should be a good one, as always.
San Diego State (Air Force leads series 19-12)
At Air Force, 7 p.m., Thu., Oct. 10
A short week of preparation will be tough, as the Falcons will quickly brace for a team that beat them handily last year. The Aztecs are experienced in all the key spots. Nine of 11 starters are back on defense and junior RB Adam Muema looks to improve on last year's 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns. They surged down the stretch, winning seven in a row at one point - including at Boise State. The surge might continue right into this season.
Notre Dame (Notre Dame leads series 23-6)
At Air Force, 3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 26
To call this the marquee game on the schedule would sell it short. Air Force has made this matchup the focus of every ticket sales marketing campaign and even offered an early opportunity to buy seats for this game at a Kids' Day function. The Irish enter with plenty of questions after an highly controversial offseason, but last year's trip to the BCS championship game certainly signaled a return to prominence.
Army (Air Force leads series 32-14-1)
At Air Force, Time TBA, Sat., Nov. 2
Army snapped a six-game losing skid to Air Force last year, hammering the Falcons 41-21. The Black Knights don't figure to be as strong this year after losing four-year starting quarterback Trent Steelman and virtually everyone from the defensive front seven. The past three victories for Army in this series were followed by losing streaks of seven, eight and six.
New Mexico (Air Force leads series 20-10)
At New Mexico, 7 p.m., Fri., Nov. 8
Bob Davie has quickly built something in Albuquerque, as Air Force well knows, having squeezed past the Lobos 28-23 at home despite 338 rushing yards from Kasey Carrier. Carrier returns, as does four-fifths of the offensive line. The Lobos won just three games in the three years before Davie arrived. They won four last year and lost another five by seven points or less.
UNLV (Air Force leads series 13-5)
At Air Force, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Nov. 21
This was the big hiccup on Air Force's schedule last year, as the Falcons were one of just two victims for the Rebels all season. While general momentum in the league is projecting upward, UNLV seems to be the lone exception. Coach Bobby Hauck is 6-32 in his three years and will enter this year with a third offensive coordinator in as many years.
Colorado State (Air Force leads series 31-19-1)
At Colorado State, Time TBA, Sat., Nov. 30
Like Davie has at New Mexico, former Alabama defensive coordinator Jim McElwain instantly breathed life into this program and won four games in his first year. McElwain refers to the Rams as a sleeping giant, and is trying to awaken them by scouring the state for talent and building the Air Force game into a key rivalry.
BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE