This is an odd sentiment from Calhoun because ever since he has been the head coach in Colorado Springs he has been successful. He has a 91-69 record and has missed a bowl game only three times in his career. Calhoun also has two seasons with 10 wins and appeared in a Mountain West title game.
Calhoun also was a quarterback at the Academy so he knows the history of the Air Force football program from multiple sides.
The tone in his comments seems to mean that maybe Air Force can’t compete in the Mountain West? The conference is improving with more and more teams getting better but for the most part, so have the Falcons and it is rare that they are at the bottom of the league.
There is no other conference to join for football so would the other option be to compete as a football independent and send the other sports to a different league? There was talk a few years ago about Air Force joining the Missouri Valley for non-football sports.
However, the Falcons also have been tied to the BCS-era Big East and also even the Big 12. Those near happenings, or at least conversations, mean that Air Force wants to compete at the highest level of college football.
The rigors of being a cadet and playing football is a tall task since at Air Force their days start very early, there is no redshirting and studying more credit hours and in difficult fields.
To that, there is a point that time is precious and when including studying and preparing for football it can be draining. This argument would make more sense if the Falcons were a bad team in the Mountain West but they are an above average team.
If the team were to go independent that route may not be much easier in terms of travel and competition. There are two local-ish schools in New Mexico State and BYU who are independent. Then the Eastern part of the country with Army, Liberty, UConn in 2020, Notre Dame, and Army. The Falcons would still play Navy each year and maybe a few Mountain West teams each year.
Maybe there is some lingering behind the scenes issues that Calhoun is privy to and that is why he is making these comments about league affiliation. It should be known that a decision like this does not come from Calhoun but the higher ups like the school president or in Air Force’s case the superintendent.
Odds are that Air Force is not leaving the Mountain West but this is an interesting development within the conference. Commissioner Craig Thompson did say at Mountain West media days that maybe contraction is the next move and not addition to the league.
”We’ve been through it. We’ve had 15 football-playing institutions. The market will dictate, in the west, there’s BYU and New Mexico State that are independent. I don’t want to speak in hypotheticals, but more probable would be contraction,” Thompson said.
“What are the other options? Go to another FBS conference? Geographically, there are 26 FBS-playing schools; 12 Pac-12, 12 Mountain West, BYU and New Mexico State west of Denver.”
Basically, there is nowhere for Air Force to go unless they venture into indepenence.