Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is "not thinking about" the team's slim chances of making a bowl game.
"Not one bit," he added.
"No thought," he offered a bit later. "Zero."
Yet Calhoun did offer up that another team seemed to benefit from playing in a bowl game with a 5-7 record.
"Gollee, I don't know if it hurt Mississippi State this year, what they did last year," Calhoun said of the Bulldogs, who slid into the St. Petersburg Bowl last year at 5-7 and beat Miami (Ohio). Mississippi State is 8-4 this season.
Calhoun's players are thinking about their bowl chances, in part because this is among the rare times that such a goal does not require looking beyond this week.
"The only way we can do that is to win this game," linebacker Jack Flor said.
If the Falcons beat Utah State on Saturday, they would finish 5-7. Because of graduation rates, they would then be the first to fill a bowl slot if there are not enough six-win teams to fill the slate.
"Best-case scenario would be get a win, not enough teams get six wins and we get a bowl, that'd be the greatest thing ever," defensive end Santo Coppola said. "But that's all stuff I can't control, either. All I can control is how well we prepare this week."
Air Force has played in a bowl in 10 of the past 11 years, qualifying with at least six wins on each occasion. If it were to slip in once without the required wins, don't expect anyone from this team to apologize for taking what the system offers.
"Quite frankly all the seniors here would like to go to a bowl game for a last time," offensive lineman Jake Barnhorst said, "and have a chance to be together one more time as a team."