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Bowl game? Yes, it's still possible if Air Force can beat Notre Dame

photo - Air Force football takes on Wyoming at Falcon Stadium Saturday, September 21, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette + caption
Air Force football takes on Wyoming at Falcon Stadium Saturday, September 21, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
By Brent Briggeman Updated: October 23, 2013 at 9:13 am 0

The matchup against Notre Dame is big for Air Force for a multitude of reasons, but one in particular has the attention of the Falcons players.

"I'm still hoping to get a bowl game," sophomore strong safety Dexter Walker said. "It's all or nothing these next five weeks."

As crazy as it sounds for a team that has lost six in a row and it being outscored by an average of 42-23 by major college opponents, Air Force (1-6) hasn't been eliminated from the bowl picture.

"Obviously those dreams are still alive," junior free safety Christian Spears said. "Right now we're 1-6 with five games left, so if we were to win out that would get us into a bowl game. But right now we're just completely focused on what's going to happen this Saturday.

"To be able to come out with a victory, that would be pretty big for our season and just the momentum that would come from that going into those last five games would be paramount."

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HOW WILL AIR FORCE FARE AGAINST THE IRISH?

Chat with four of our Gazette reporters and columnists from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at gazette.com. Fire away with your comments or questions about the Falcons, Broncos, college hockey, etc..

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At least one line had Notre Dame as a 20-point favorite for Saturday's game, so it would take one of the biggest upsets of the college football season to keep those hopes alive into next week.

Still, crazier things have happened and Notre Dame enters with major question marks at quarterback. Tommy Rees returned to practice Tuesday after spraining his neck Saturday in a 14-10 victory over USC. His backup, Andrew Hendrix, generated virtually no offense in the game that the Fighting Irish were able to win on the strength of a second-half shutout from the defense.

Beyond Notre Dame, the schedule takes a sharp turn with relatively favorable matchups the rest of the way.

One thing is certain, Air Force players are excited about the opportunity both to play a high-profile opponent and to remain in the running for a seventh straight bowl trip.

"It's no different from when they went into the Big House last year and almost beat Michigan," freshman quarterback Nate Romine said of Air Force's 31-25 loss in Ann Arbor last year. "You've got to focus and you've got to believe."

 

Table set up to run

Should Air Force pull off the upset against Notre Dame, it's not unthinkable that it could reel off wins in its final four games against teams it has dominated recently and again make itself bowl eligible.

 

Army (3-5)

10 a.m., Nov. 2

Last five meetings: 4-1 Air Force

 

At New Mexico (2-5, 0-3 MW)

7 p.m., Nov. 8

Last five meetings: 5-0 Air Foce

 

UNLV (4-3, 2-1 MW)

7:30 p.m., Nov. 21

Last five meetings: 4-1 Air Force

 

At Colorado State (3-4, 1-1 MW)

Time TBA, Nov. 30

Last five meetings: 5-0 Air Force

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