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Air Force fullback Emmanuel Michel flips over Wyoming defender Rome Weber during a football game at Falcon Stadium.

Craig Bohl has faced Air Force seven times. He’s beaten the Falcons four times and lost three.

The Wyoming coach has seen enough that his opinion on Air Force carries some weight, so it was worth noting when he dropped a heavy observation this week.

“I can tell you in my assessment, this is the best Air Force team that I’ve seen in nine years since I’ve been the Cowboys football coach,” Bohl said in advance of the 6 p.m. meeting between Air Force and Wyoming at War Memorial Stadium.

Thing is, in this series the quality of teams hasn’t meant much.

The Falcons haven’t won on the road against Wyoming since 2012, dropping the past three.

Air Force has won 10 or more games nine times in its program. Three of those teams lost at Laramie to Wyoming teams with a combined 19-19 record.

Under Bohl the Cowboys have beaten a pair of 10-win Air Force teams, including the game in 2014 when Wyoming ended the season 4-8.

Air Force is 11-14-2 all-time in Laramie, including 5-5 in the past 10 meetings in which the Falcons have outscored the Cowboys by a combined total of five points. The past five meetings have been decided by single-digit margins.

“I just know every year it’s pretty much our most physical game,” Air Force safety Jayden Goodwin said.

On one hand, history has shown that records don’t mean much in Laramie. But, because the 2020 game at Wyoming was cancelled because of COVID-19 cases, only a handful of players in this game were around for the last meeting at War Memorial Stadium.

For the most part, all the current Falcons know that playing at Wyoming – the heated nature of the games, the Cowboys’ fan base, etc. – has been what they’ve heard second-hand. So any carryover from the current three-game losing streak in Laramie has no personal meaning to them.

“It’s just another week, another game,” Air Force center Thor Paglialong said. “That’s how we’re looking at it. Nothing special, no statistics. We’re just going to go up there and play football.

“I’m not sure about the whole intensity of it. It was a close game last year.”

If it’s possible to drown out the extenuating factors and let this be a true matchup of the two squads in their Mountain West opener, this has to favor Air Force (as the oddsmakers have indicated by making the Falcons a 15.5-point favorite).

Air Force (2-0) is coming off a 10-3 season and has trounced its two opponents – perennial FCS contender Northern Iowa and Colorado from the Pac-12 – by 31 points apiece. The Falcons are loaded with experience, particularly at key positions like quarterback with Haaziq Daniels and fullback with Brad Roberts (whose 144 rushing yards per game ranks second in the nation). 

Wyoming (2-1), on the other hand, has the highest percentage of freshman and sophomores (84.2) of any roster in the nation and features a number of transfers in key spots. There’s no telling where the Cowboys will end up this season as the young and new players jell. But in mid-September that process is still in its infancy. On top of that, Wyoming is a fine, but pedestrian 25-22 since Josh Allen’s final year with the team in 2017. Air Force is 27-8 overall since its last loss in Laramie.

The numbers support Bohl’s contention that this could be a particularly good Air Force team. Other numbers suggest that won’t matter in Laramie. But most numbers show it will be close, regardless of what anything else indicates.

“They’ve been really, really good games,” said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, whose record at Wyoming is 3-3. “This one will be too.”

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