Air Force Football: First Look At The 2023 Schedule
The Falcons will reload with an eye toward staying in the mix for an elusive conference title. What can we learn from their overall schedule?
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The Mountain West unveiled its full conference schedule earlier this month but, at least for the Air Force Falcons, the goals remain the same: Beat Navy, beat Army, get to and win a conference championship. What does their 2023 schedule suggest about how they might be able to meet those challenges?
Air Force 2023 football schedule announced https://t.co/cP0PTDHytk
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) March 2, 2023
Here’s what the week-by-week schedule looks like with Bill Connelly’s preseason SP+ rankings, where Air Force is 77th overall, in parentheses:
Saturday, September 2 – vs. Robert Morris (117th among FCS teams)
Saturday, September 9 – at Sam Houston State (124)
Saturday, September 16 – vs. Utah State (118)
Saturday, September 23 – at San Jose State (103)
Saturday, September 30 – vs. San Diego State (80)
Saturday, October 14 – vs. Wyoming (101)
Saturday, October 21 – at Navy (97)
Saturday, October 28 – at Colorado State (119)
Saturday, November 4 – vs. Army, in Denver (87)
Saturday, November 11 – at Hawaii (131)
Saturday, November 18 – vs. UNLV (108)
Saturday, November 25 – at Boise State (68)
What are the biggest initial takeaways?
1. A revenge tour at 6,621 feet?
Like usual, the Falcons will get a chance to open up Mountain West action by hosting Utah State in the first conference matchup of the entire season, but the good times at Falcon Stadium may not stop there. Three of Air Force’s first four in-conference tilts will be at home and two of those opponents, the Aggies and Cowboys, will give Troy Calhoun’s cadets an opportunity to set things right after dropping a pair of heartbreakers to them in 2022.
2. Back-to-back-to-back rivalry games will require lots of juice.
Air Force will head into 2023 with an eye toward keeping the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, but while the Falcons will benefit from a bye week before heading to Annapolis, could they be in for an emotional hangover the following week in Fort Collins? Ensuring the Midshipmen sing second is always one of the program’s top priorities, but the clash for the Ram-Falcon Trophy with Colorado State could be a trap game.
It’s also worth noting that battle will also take place the week before the Falcons head north on the 25 a second time to face Army in Denver. It seems hard to fathom that won’t be an epic stretch for Air Force no matter what.
3. A tough assignment to close out the regular season.
Where the first iteration of the new schedule rotation mostly dispensed with long-standing rivalries at the end of the year, Air Force’s trip to Boise State could be a game of titanic consequences on both sides. The Falcons’ last trip to Albertsons Stadium in 2021 was a success, but the Broncos have often bedeviled them in recent years: That victory is the only one in the last six season.
Hardest stretch: at Navy, at Colorado State, vs. Army
Easiest stretch: vs. Robert Morris, at Sam Houston State, vs. Utah State
Guaranteed wins: vs. Robert Morris
Guaranteed losses: none
Worse than 50/50 games: at Boise State
50/50 games: at San Jose State, vs. San Diego State, vs. Wyoming, at Colorado State, vs. Army
Better than 50/50 games: at Sam Houston State, vs. Utah State, at Navy, at Hawaii, vs. UNLV
Preliminary projected record: 7-5