2021 SP+ Projections Are Out
Do You Buy the SP+ Win Projection?
Spring practice is winding down for Air Force, while the rest of the college football landscape will be charting their paths for the 2021 season as well. As these early camps begin cascading, so too are the early season projections.
One of the most interesting predictors you will find are Bill Connelly’s SP+ Projections. If you want a detailed breakdown of the SP+ Projections, you can take a look here. The two-minute drill indoctrination of how they are constructed is as follows; Returning Production, Recent Recruiting and Recent History.
With that, the 2021 SP+ Projections are now available, and were going to take a look at how the Falcons stack up against the rest of their 2021 schedule. Assuming the SP+ as Gospel, we will use it to project the win-loss total for Air Force, game by game (FBS Teams only).
Preseason SP+ projections for the Mountain West:
39. Boise State
78. Fresno State
81. San Jose State
84. San Diego State
93. Air Force
96. Colorado State
121. Utah State
124. New Mexico https://t.co/nyzlyRuU6v
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) February 9, 2021
AIR FORCE (93) OVER NAVY (100)
Due to the nature of turnover and recruiting at the Military Academies, they are probably more the anomaly than any other in the SP+ Projections. That said, even though its rare that Navy would have back to back down seasons, it would be hard to argue this result after last season’s drubbing of the Mids, and the projected composition of this year’s rosters.
AIR FORCE (93) OVER FLORIDA ATLANTIC (97)
In their first year post Lane Kiffin, FAU cobbled a winning record, but that isn’t exactly going to overwhelm anyone with confidence as you look at who those five wins came against. As a team that has done a good job bringing in transfers, FAU could be a wildcard in Conference USA. That isn’t going to be enough to secure the confidence of a victory over the Falcons though.
ARMY (72) OVER AIR FORCE (93)
According to Bill C’s SP+ Projection, the fighting Jeff Monken’s are going to win the 1st Inaugural Commanders Cup. If you were to simply look at general program trajectory and trend, its a hard result to argue, unfortunately.
SAN DIEGO STATE (84) OVER AIR FORCE (93)
The Aztec defense has a history of earning the benefit of the doubt. So much so that they at times singlehandedly have carried their team to wins, and even division titles. If you don’t believe there will be a drop off in defensive production and efficiency the further removed from Rocky Long’s coaching they get, then a win here is reasonable.
AIR FORCE (93) OVER UNLV (123)
No surprises here as UNLV continues to try and figure things out. Even if Nevada’s well traveled former 4-star prodigal, Tate Martell ends up under center, there are a lot of holes on this team.
AIR FORCE (93) OVER UTAH STATE (121)
The Blake Anderson era begins this year in Logan, and he brings some talent by way of transfers along with him. Perhaps the Aggies can be another anomaly to the SP+ by years end, but for now its fair to expect the Falcons to keep on keepin’ on their winning ways in this series.
WYOMING (80) OVER AIR FORCE (93)
Maybe between their tandem of quarterbacks that have yet to prove consistent throwing, there is belief a new offensive coordinator can rectify that? We know they can run and play defense.
BOISE STATE (39) OVER AIR FORCE (93)
We keep getting more and more years removed from when Air Force was the biggest problem on Boise State’s schedule. They may still prove very problematic to the new Bronco coaching staff, but probably not as problematic as the Boise offense will be for them and everyone else on the schedule.
AIR FORCE (93) OVER COLORADO STATE (96)
What is going on in Fort Collins? Talent comes in and talent goes out. And as we learned, some talent is choosing to return in form of studs like Trey McBride. Coach Addazio hasn’t inspired the kind of confidence that makes arguing this projection look validated though.
NEVADA (74) OVER AIR FORCE (93)
The United States Air Force knows all about elite weapons, and they would have to be the first to recognize them in the Wolfpack. Carson Strong and the crew are garnering a lot of attention and for good reason. It comes as no surprise Nevada finds itself atop the West Division according to SP+.
AIR FORCE (93) OVER NEW MEXICO (124)
Unfortunately for the Lobos, this routine is probably getting old. Ever since abandoning their option style scheme, this seems their dwelling place in the MWC basement. There were glimmers of hope last season, but for hope to become confident, it must manifest in results at some point.
FINALS RESULTS (7-5)
If you go off of the aforementioned SP+ Projections, the Falcons should find themselves Bowl Eligible at the end of the season with six wins against five losses. There should also be win residing in their game against Lafayette to start the season, which doesn’t make the SP+ Projections because they are not part of the FBS.
As mentioned earlier, these projections as formulated as they are, don’t necessarily best capture Air Force’s potential for a number of reasons. A primary factor is a lot of very experienced players returning from turnback seasons in 2020, and a few of them were All Conference performers. None of these impacts are considered as part of the analysis.
Combine that with the routine outperformance of prospect rating by Academy players, and the Falcons should be in the mix to compete for the Mountain division again in 2021.