Schedule and Odds
Air Force surprised a lot of people last year, finishing with a 10-3 record, although with a mostly easy non-Conference Schedule. Because of that, the Falcons still placed Fourth in the division despite a 5-3 Conference record. The Mountain division will once again be the toughest, but Air Force does have the Fourth-best odds to win the MWC at 5 Dimes (+1500), although with an over/under of 6.
The immediate concern for the offense will be at quarterback with Nate Romine the new starter. He did lead the Falcons to a win over Colorado State in the regular season finale, but he didn’t do anything outstanding. The good news is that most other spots are returning talent for the offense. Leading rusher Jacobi Owens (1,054 yards) returns as well as the two bruising fullbacks in Shayne Davern (8 TDs) and D.J. Johnson (8 TDs). The Falcons put together a solid passing Game last year, which was one of the reasons for reaching 10 wins. They return all of their top receiving targets in Jalen Robinette, Garrett Brown and Garrett Griffin.
It’ll just depend on if Nate Romine can get the job down (or another QB), similar to what Kale Pearson did with 14 passing TDs and only three interceptions last year. Granted, Pearson was also great on the ground, but limiting turnovers is key in any offense. The offensive line will get a few new faces, but everyone expected to start has some experience so it shouldn’t be a major problem.
Air Force took up a new approach last year on the defensive end and it worked as they allowed just 24.2 points per Game a year after allowing more than 40. They became an aggressive unit that opposing offenses weren’t really ready for. However, the Falcons lose a lot of talent from that group, and it’s going to be different for the offenses they face, as they’ll know what to expect.
There are still plenty of pieces for this defense to work with as they have a good amount of depth. Safety Weston Steelhammer (All-MWC) is back as is experienced end Alex Hansen and linebacker Connor Healy. A lot of the guys will be first-time starters, but every starter is expected to be a junior or senior and have the experience for this defense to not lose a beat.
Air Force had a big turnaround last year, but repeating those 10 wins will be a lot harder this time around, as seen in their over/under of six. For starters, the Falcons have to travel to Michigan State and Navy this year, which both could be trouble in non-Conference play after not losing one of those Games last year. They also have to travel to Colorado State and Boise State, two teams they beat a year ago at home. Reaching six wins will come down to winning their other road Games against weaker teams at Hawaii and New Mexico. Home Games against Fresno State and Utah State will also be important tests.
That said, the offense still has enough pieces to keep this team going and it’d be a surprise for them to see less than six wins. Seven or eight in the win column seems about right for the Falcons this season.
2015 Air Force Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Morgan State
Sept. 12 vs. San Jose State
Sept. 19 at Michigan State
Oct. 3 at Navy
Oct. 10 vs. Wyoming
Oct. 17 at Colorado State
Oct. 24 vs. Fresno State
Oct. 31 at Hawaii
Nov. 7 vs. Army
Nov. 14 vs. Utah State
Nov. 20 at Boise State
Nov. 28 at New Mexico