Air Force Falcons 2023 College Football Preview
July 1, 2023
Record – 10-3
ATS – 7-6
The Falcons managed to win 10 games but somehow, the season felt like a bit of a disappointment. They were one of the favorites to win the Mountain West heading into the campaign but they stubbed their toes BIG TIME in the first half by losing to Wyoming and Utah St. The loss to Boise St put any hopes of a conference title to rest, but as per usual, the feisty Falcons kept playing hard and ended the season on a five-game winning streak. That run was topped off by a blowout win over Baylor in the Armed Forces Bowl (W 30-15).
Can Air Force repeat as winner of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 2011? Do they have the MINERALS to bag a conference title?
Air Force Falcons 2023 Outlook
The Falcons devastating ground attack was in full force once again LY as they racked up 300+ YPG on the ground for the 3rd season in a row (327 YPG, #1 FBS). They’ll be challenged to hit those lofty heights in 2023 as they lose five of their top-six (!) rushers including the great Brad Roberts (1,728, 17 TD) and veteran QB Haaziq Daniels (695, 8 TD). One of last season’s backups (likely Ben Brittain) will likely get the first crack at the starting QB gig and we’ll see how things go. You only have to ask Navy what happens when you don’t have a capable QB running the triple option. The good news is that Air Force always finds productive doods to run the football and they bring back the explosive John Lee Eldridge (766, 7.7! LY). You can also count on the Falcons to have a strong offensive line but it’s worth noting that they lost a pair of really solid starters from LY’s group. The Falcons don’t attempt to MATRICULATE the ball down the field too often via the THROW GAME but note that nobody with more than two (!) receptions LY is back on the roster in 2023.
It’s not a well-known fact, but the Falcons led the FBS in total defense LY allowing a minuscule 254 YPG! They were particularly stingy vs the run (95 YPG, #6), and whilst the Mountain West wasn’t full of killer offenses in 2022, you’ve gotta tip your hat to what the defense accomplished. Things look pretty good heading into 2023 as they bring back eight of the top-10 tacklers including a number of important pieces. They’ll be tough up front with the return of NG Payton Zdroik and DT Jayden Thiergood (combined 7 sacks, 10 TFL LY) and they’ve got an experienced LB corps. Four starters return on the back end including #1 tackler and 2nd Team MW honoree safety Trey Taylor.
The Falcons have a fine PK in Matthew Dapore (16-21 FG, 37-38 XP LY) and also retain punter Carson Bay who had a mediocre 2022 campaign (37.6).
Overall – Lookin’ sweet, yo. They shouldn’t have much trouble in non-conference play and will almost certainly start with a pair of blowout wins (Robert Morris, Sam Houston). They miss Fresno St in conference action which is a plus.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Colorado St (Oct 28)
This road conference affair takes place between their epic showdowns with Navy and Army.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 1
Over 8.5 -110
Under 8.5 -110
Similar to last year, the Falcons have a very manageable schedule. It’s worth noting tho that they SHAT the BED a couple of times last year so nine wins isn’t a total given.
The great PHIL STEELE reminds us that former QB Haaziq Daniels is the only FBS player to have the longest run (94 yards) and the longest pass (92) for his school.
The Falcons have a legitimate shot at doing what the solid 2022 team couldn’t accomplish, and that’s get to the Mountain West Championship Game. They should be golden if they can manage a split with San Diego St and Boise St but they need to avoid laying eggs against crappy opponents. We view them as one of a few contenders that could match up with Boise St in early December for all the marbles! GO GET ‘EM FLYBOYS!