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Gazette Premium Content Ramsey: Air Force football offers reason to believe and doubt

photo - Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, looks on at the start of an NCAA college football game against San Diego State, at the Air Force Academy, Colo. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) + caption
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, looks on at the start of an NCAA college football game against San Diego State, at the Air Force Academy, Colo. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
By David Ramsey Updated: July 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

 

A Falcons football fan was walking along the Santa Fe Trail on a glorious July morning. She was moving fast while wearing a T shirt that proclaimed "Air Force Thunder."

Yes, many Air Force football seasons have been filled with been filled with entertaining thunder. The Falcons won nine games as recently as 2010.

Last season will be remembered as "Air Force Blunder." The Falcons finished 2-10 and were beaten to the ground by Utah State, Wyoming, Boise State, Notre Dame, UNLV and their friendly neighbors to the north, the Colorado State Rams.

The 2014 season begins in six weeks.

Here are three reasons to believe thunder will return to Falcon Stadium.

And three reasons to worry about another season of blunder.

Reasons to believe:

THE SCHEDULE

Yes, Air Force schedules opponents from the less powerful realm of college football known as the Football Championship Subdivision, but the Falcons don't stop there.

Air Force carefully selects weak teams from FCS. This season, the Falcons will tangle with the Nicholls Colonels.

I'm a proud survivor of Air Force's 72-0 win over Nicholls at Falcon Stadium in 2009. It was gruesome. It was pointless.

But it was a win for the home team.

Nicholls finished 4-8 last season. If you enjoy watching lopsided football games - say, 84-3 at the end of the third quarter - this game is for you.

The extreme ease of the schedule does not end with Nicholls and Georgia State. Army and New Mexico combined for a 6-18 record last season. (One of New Mexico's three wins came against, yes, the Falcons.) Six of Air Force 2014 opponents bumbled to losing records last season.

With this schedule, the Falcons will struggle not to double their win total.

THE QUARTERBACKS

Nate Romine and Kale Pearson are vastly different. If Romine wins the starting QB job, the Falcons will boast a strong passing attack. If Pearson wins, the Falcons could win the national rushing title.

That's not all. Even third-stringer Karson Roberts showed flashes of talent last season. Last season's Falcons lost 10 of 12 games, but were shockingly deep at quarterback.

THE COACH

Calhoun transformed 2006's stumbling 4-8 team into 2007's soaring 9-4 team that almost finished 11-2. He's proven he can revive a team that's fallen and can't get up.

Reasons to worry:

THE DEFENSE

We're going to hear about a whole new defense. A new attitude. A new scheme. A new level of violence. Air Force fans have been hearing about a whole new defense for years.

A defensive revolution is required. Last year's Falcons defense, if that's the right way to describe the unit, allowed more than 40 points eight times and more than 50 points three times.

THE TRIP TO WYOMING

Last season, Wyoming's Cowboys stormed into Falcon Stadium and trashed Air Force, 56-23. It was the worst home performance by an Air Force football team in more than a decade.

The Falcons travel to Laramie on Sept. 6 for a rematch. This game will define the 2014 season. If the Falcons get thrashed again, prepare for a season of doom and agony. You know, like last season.

THE COACH

Calhoun revived the program in 2007, but has since watched the program tumble back to the depths. His 2013 team ranks as the worst in Air Force's football history.

He's the head coach who was standing on the sideline Nov. 30 in Fort Collins. He looked at the scoreboard and saw this score:

CSU 58, Air Force 13.

-

Twitter: @davidlukeramsey

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