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Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’

Checking In, A Few Thoughts, Etc.

Hey, miss you guys. Just wanted to say hello, how’s it going, how’s everything, how’s your team doing, how’s your coach, how’s your quarterback, etc. It’s been a wild year so far, right? Alabama is what we thought it’d be. Not so much with L.S.U., however. But count me among those folks who think that the Tigers will be fine; from my vantage point, I think that L.S.U. is keeping a ton under wraps, and that come November, you’re going to see a few wrinkles appear with a national title berth on the line. Florida should scare Les Miles and pals, on the other hand – the Gators can play a little defense, it seems.

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    P.S.R. 1-124: Week 5 Re-Ranking

    With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, even if we’re now four weeks into the year. As promised, everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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      No. 49: Air Force

      You can’t control injuries. There’s nothing a staff can do to keep players on the field and off of crutches; try as one might – and I’m sure there’s a detail-obsessed coach out there who has chewed it over – there’s no way to control the flow of injuries. Typically, those teams that dominate the national title conversation remain largely injury-free, outside of the common nicks and bruises that impact every roster. But for most teams, injuries are a constant, never ending source of pain and anguish. For some the pain stings worse: Air Force, for example, is not a football factory, one that spews out five-star recruits like a slot machine, but rather one of those programs that needs all it can get from each and every player on its roster. Put the Falcons among those teams that must stay healthy – and if they don’t, a once-promising season can quickly take a turn for the worse.

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        No. 60: Navy

        Navy is a program that judges its success using three standards: Army, Air Force and bowl eligibility. The Midshipmen are relatively alone in this regard, as the vast majority of the F.B.S. uses more general and wide-ranging criteria – win eight games, for example, or finish above .500 in conference play or play in a January bowl, to name a few. This often plays in Navy’s favor, especially with an often stout schedule of B.C.S. conference opponents lowering the team’s overall won-loss record, but you can also see a drawback: when Navy falters in one or two of its three criteria for success, the year can quickly take a turn for the worse. Navy missed on two of its three guidelines last fall, losing by a single point against Air Force and missing out on the postseason thanks to five close-but-no-cigar defeats. This runs contrary to popular logic: Navy aims small, but when it misses, it misses big.

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          Army Needs a Healthy Steelman at QB

          Army has something Navy and Air Force don’t, and this fact alone might be the reason why the Cadets might make a surprise trip to the White House next spring. Unlike their rivals for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, the Cadets return their starting quarterback. And not just any starting quarterback: a three-year starting quarterback, that rarest of all rarities.

          Senior Trent Steelman has held the key’s Army running game — and, by extension, to the offense as a whole — since the first game of his freshman season, making him not only the most experienced quarterback among the three service academies but also one of the most experienced quarterbacks in all of college football.

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            No. 88 : Army

            As an Independent, Army has the ability to dictate its own schedule. To a degree: Army still needs to play Navy in December; the Cadets still need to fit Air Force into the schedule around the Falcons’ Mountain West slate; and Army would do what it took to get Notre Dame on the schedule, because Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame. And as an institution, Army has the financial security to play anyone, anytime, anywhere – the Cadets were doing so long before Fresno State coined the phrase. Think about these two facts, that Army can dictate its own schedule and can largely pick and choose its opponents, and then consider this: the Cadets’ 2012 schedule has them playing 11 games over 11 weeks. Army could have played a game on Sept. 1 and then taken a week off. Had at least two games between Temple on Nov. 17 and Navy on Dec. 8. Instead: 11 games, 11 weeks. This won’t be easy.

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              Revisiting the Coaching Class of 2007

              We’re now five years removed from the coaching class of 2007. This 24-member group included Neil Callaway, who was discussed yesterday today as part of the U.A.B. preview, as well as more than a few coaching luminaries: Nick Saban, Brian Kelly, Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh, for example. Callaway, who won 18 games over five years with the Blazers, is the impetus for the idea behind the post, as well as just one member of the class of 2007 who never came to close to matching the promises made at their initial press conference. No coach loses his introductory press conference; for many, however, it’s all downhill from there.

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                The Countdown: 2011 List

                Hey, what’s this? You know the drill: I shudder at the thought of not having all of last season’s Countdown saved for posterity — all that work down the drain and so forth, but also because man can only learn from his mistakes, and as last summer’s work eventually illustrated, I’ve made a few. So consider this post both a place-saver for the 2011 Countdown and a refresher of how mistakes have been made and will most assuredly be made again. From here, I’ll link to this page at the bottom of the growing list of previews soon to accumulate along the right sidebar. How soon? Very, very soon. More on that later today.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.