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Football schedule reveals early four-week test for Air Force that starts at Michigan and ends at Navy

March 2, 2017 Updated: March 3, 2017 at 6:01 am
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The Air Force football team run onto the field with their new uniforms Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, before their game against Georgia State at Falcon Stadium on Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Air Force's 2017 football schedule was released on Thursday, revealing a gauntlet that the Falcons will face early on.

After hosting Virginia Military Institute - coached by 1984 Air Force graduate Scott Wachenheim - in the home opener on Sept. 3 and then drawing a bye in the season's second week, the onslaught hits. A trip to Michigan is followed by a home date against two-time defending Mountain West champion San Diego State. Then there's a road trip to New Mexico, which has beaten the Falcons three straight times away from Falcon Stadium. The stretch is capped with a voyage to Navy.

Frankly, it could take an upset victory along the way for Air Force to start anything better than 1-4 in a season in which it returns just one starter on defense and loses a set of offensive playmakers that include the program's all-time leading receiver (Jalen Robinette) and a 3,000-yard rusher (Jacobi Owens).

Still, coach Troy Calhoun seemed unfazed.

"They were the same 12 we were going to play no matter what," he said.

Other noteworthy tidbits on the schedule include Air Force's first game at Colorado State's new stadium, which will occur on Oct. 28. Also, this will be the third time in four years the Falcons play at home on the weekend of Thanksgiving - when the cadet wing is away on break - as it hosts Utah State on Nov. 25.

The schedule released Thursday is tentative, as television networks will now select matchups and can move games to Thursdays and Fridays.

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