There are a few great matchups in the Mountain West on this opening weekend of the college football season.
Utah plays Pittsburgh, which could win the Big East. BYU and TCU start with Pac-10 teams Washington and Oregon State, respectively. UNLV has a tough challenge against Wisconsin, as does New Mexico at Oregon. Colorado State has its traditional season opener against Colorado.
Air Force fans have to wait until Week 2 for its first interesting matchup of the season. The Falcons face Northwestern State, which is from the Football Championship Subdivision and went 0-11 in that lower division last year.
With an huge game against BYU on Sept. 11, this would appear to be a good week for Air Force to let hurt players sit and definitely not show too much of the playbook for the Cougars to study on film next week. But that’s not how Falcons coach Troy Calhoun operates.
“No way. No way, not a chance,” Calhoun said. “We have a full-fledged game plan and we’ve game-planned this game as hard as any game we’ve ever prepared for.”
Calhoun promised there would be some wrinkles specifically put in for Northwestern State. Calhoun also said nobody has been ruled out of the game except linebacker Ken Lamendola, who has a knee injury. If banged-up players like cornerbacks Anthony Wright (ribs) and Josh Hall (ankle) can get through Tuesday’s practice and feel healthy, Calhoun said they will play.
Even if Calhoun plans to hold a little bit back, he wouldn’t disrespect an opponent by saying so before the game – even one that finished 0-7 in the Southland Conference last season. None of the Air Force players are taking the Demons lightly.
“Appalachian State, right?” cornerback Reggie Rembert said, referring to the FCS team that won at Michigan in 2007. “You have to be on your Ps and Qs when you’re going against anybody in Division I football.”
One thing the Demons can count on is seeing a lot of the triple option, and they are used to it. Conference rival Nicholls State, which was Air Force’s first opponent last year, runs the triple option.
Demons safety Lance Lacoste said preparing to face the triple option every season will help on Saturday.
“That’s a positive for sure for us,” Lacoste said. “It won’t be our first time facing the triple option.”