The Air Force football outlook for the upcoming 2016 season. The Falcons won the Mountain division last year under Troy Calhoun, and now they could be even better.
Forget the three-game losing streak to close things out. Forget the target practice taken by Jared Goff in an ugly Armed Forces Bowl loss to Cal. Forget the tough loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West championship. 2015 was a fantastic season for Air Force.
Head coach Troy Calhoun and the Falcons proved that the 2-10 season in 2013 was a total aberration by rolling up a 10-win 2014, but last year was better. Last year was when the system worked well enough to get really, really close to winning the Mountain West title, showing there’s still a place in the league for the Air Force running attack. Last year was when the annual consistency paid off.
But where can the Falcons go from here?
It’s a different world than 1998, when Air Force went 12-1 and came within one point of a perfect season. Defenses are quicker and better at handling what the Falcons do on the ground, and the lack of top talent does turn into a problem against sophisticated teams made up of recruits with stars next to their names.
This year’s team, though, might be able to take things a step further from last season. There’s more experience and more to really and truly think that this might be a championship campaign.
This year, Air Force might be sensational.
It starts with a defense that finished 32nd in the nation last season and gets back nine starters. Yeah, if got ripped to shreds by the New Mexico running game and the Cal passing attack late in the year, but as long as the starting 11 can stay healthy, the defense will be a force.
You know what’s coming from the offense.
Air Force is going to run the ball, and it’s going to run it well, but it also has a curveball with wide receiver Jalen Robinette, one of the league’s most dangerous deep threats. Five starters might be gone, including three from the line, but the Falcon system grooms ready-made blockers who know exactly what they’re doing.
Yeah, 2015 really was a good year with an 8-6 record. 2016 really could be a great year with a Mountain West championship.