Cadets Face Pivotal Match-up Against CSU; Coach Prime Encountering Tough Times
By Trevor Phipps
This year, college football fever has struck the state, giving more attention to the young pigskin stars than ever before.
In fact, college pigskin ball has drawn more attention in some ways than the NFL, thanks to the lackluster start by the Denver (Disaster) Broncos.
With Colorado University (CU) adding Deion “Prime Time” Sanders this year, he and the Buffs have been the talk of the nation. Meanwhile, the Air Force Cadets, located in our own backyard, are kicking butt with a no-drama style of play and a ruthless ground assault, orchestrated by veteran coach Troy Calhoun. (At the time of this writing, they had recorded a record of 6-0, the Cadets best start since 2002 and a mark that was tied for the fifth best start in the program’s history).
Coach Prime, as he likes to be called, has brought a new excitement for the college football scene to the state giving the school in Boulder tons of popularity. Coach Prime was even at the brunt of a skit on the season Premiere of Saturday Night Live where the satire show took their fair share of digs at the coach.
But on the field, Sanders and his team have slowly started to disappoint their fans. After their unprecedented start, many thought they would become an unstoppable team.
But as the season winded on, the team started to fall to other schools due to their tough schedule. But in any case, all three major Colorado college teams have made headlines for their accomplishments, some good and some bad.
Air Force Upsets Wyoming in Dramatic Finish; Records Best Start in 20-Plus Years
On Oct. 14, the Air Force Falcons had their biggest challenge of the season as the 5-0 team faced the number two in the Mountain West, the 5-1 Wyoming Cowboys. Many were worried about the match and even I had previously predicted that the Cowboys would give the Falcons their first loss of the season. Most insiders agreed this game would become the Cadets’ first loss of the year.
Luckily for Air Force fans, the cynics, including scribes from TMJ, were totally wrong. Even though it was a brutal match that went down to the final minutes, the Falcons came out on top 34-27.
At first, the, 28,000 fans attending the game looked worried as the Cowboys gained a 14-0 lead early in the game. The Falcons were down 21-17 at halftime when the tide started to turn.
To start the second half of the game, the Falcons defense came out with a vengeance and looked completely different. They started stopping the Cowboys and gave the offense a chance to get ahead.
But the Falcons almost lost the game when their quarterback Zac Larrier left the game and the backup quarterback, Jensen Jones, fumbled during two possessions in a row. However, the Falcons hung to take home the victory and start the season 6-0 for the first time since 2003. Jones made up partially for his miscues with an impressive run to seal the game at the finish. Great rushing assaults were also performed throughout the game by John Lee Eldridge and Emmanuel Michel and by Larrier.
This Saturday, the Falcons have another challenge as they take on a tough Colorado State team who has been coming up with some big wins recently. I think the Rams will have what it takes to upset them on their home turf and give them their first loss.
Prediction: Rams 34, Falcons 31
Colorado State Uses Hail Mary Pass in Final Seconds to Defeat Boise State
In the beginning of the season, many Rams fans including myself did not have high hopes for CSU. But after they almost beat Coach Prime and the Buffs, people knew they meant business.
They then surprised fans even more when they came up with a big victory against Boise State, a team they had never defeated before. The Rams were down at the end of a game when they made a surprising comeback and then sealed the deal with an amazing Hail Mary Pass at the end of the game to come out with a 31-30 victory.
The Rams this year could be a sleeper team that will come out of the woodworks at the end of the season. And I expect that they have a good chance to beat Air Force (see prediction above).
Colorado Gives Up Big Lead and Loses to Stanford
Just as everyone thought the Buffs were stellar and could only lose to top 25 ranked teams. Recently, they handed over a huge victory to Stanford. The Buffs were up 29-0 at halftime only to lose 46-43 in double overtime.
In fact, the defeat marked the biggest lead the team has ever given up to end up losing a game. However, even if the Buffs end up with a .500 or a losing record, Coach Prime has still turned around the team that finished 1-11 last year.
Besides, many thought that it would take even a top-notch coach like Sanders more than a year to revamp the fallen football program. But, it is still too soon to count them out of a bowl game just yet.
Unfortunately, this week might prove to be yet another loss for CU. So far this year, UCLA has put up big numbers against teams that weren’t ranked and then fell only to teams with higher AP rankings.
This week I think the Number 25 Ranked UCLA Bruins will give the Buffs yet another loss.
Prediction: Bruins 48, Buffaloes 38