Friday Fast Facts – Air Force Week

… “T.I.P.S” – The weekly preview postings, with the matchup broken down by T-Talent; I-Intangibles; P-Preparation; and S-Statistics, are available for your review and comment. The written preview and predictions for the CU/Air Force game can be found here, while the CU at the Game Podcast Preview for the game can be found here


Big Picture … 

Stat you are guaranteed to hear on Saturday … Air Force opened its season with a 48-17 win over Northern Colorado, rushing for 582 yards. The Falcons led the nation in rushing in 2021 (327.7 yards/game), and currently have a 200-yard lead on every other team in the nation heading into Week Two of the 2022 season;

CU’s continued slide … Once upon a time – actually not that long ago – the University of Colorado could brag that its football program was in the Top 25 in the nation in all-time wins. With a decade-and-a-half of sub-mediocrity, that is no longer the case. The Buffs entered the season at No. 27 in all-time wins, with 718. That number was just behind Michigan State (722), which passed CU for No. 26 last season. Up next: None other than the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, CU’s next opponent. With Minnesota’s win in Week One, the Gophers tied CU for 27th spot on the list, and look to pass the Buffs this Saturday;

What channel again? … Buff fans may be forgiven if they spend time flipping through channels looking for the CU/Air Force game, as the game will be televised on CBS. The last time CU was on CBS? Try January 1, 1996 (a 38-6 CU win over Oregon, a game which had the unintended consequence of prompting Phil Knight to start pumping millions of his dollars into the Oregon program. Read the game story here);

The ESPN Power Index gives Air Force a 78.5% chance of winning (TCU was given a 68.5% chance of winning last week). Subject to change, Air Force is currently picked by the Power Index to be favored in every game it plays this fall;

Forget the Plane, Stick with the Bus … CU has lost its last five road games (all five in 2021) … but … the Buffs have won eight straight times on in road games played in the state of Colorado (at Colorado State in 1987, 1988, and 1996; at Air Force in 1965, 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1974);

— The game will be telecast nationally on the CBS (Friday, 1:37 p.m., MT), with Rich Waltz on the play-by-play, Aaron Taylor with the commentary, and Sherree Burrus on the sidelines.  KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 18th year, with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his sixth year as the full-time analyst.


Statistically speaking … 

If the Buffs can just to 20 points … In the series against the Falcons, when the Buffs have managed to score 20 points or more … the Buffs have a 9-2 record;

Just don’t give up the big play … Air Force may lead the nation in rushing offense, but is 126th in passing offense, with 109 yards in the opener. All but 29 of those yards came on one play, an 80-yard touchdown pass from Haaziq Daniels to Dane Kinamon in the first quarter. After Northern Iowa kicked a field goal to make it 7-3, Kinamon took off for a 71-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3 … and end any doubt of the final outcome;

Lost in the routs … but the Air Force defense wasn’t any more effective in stopping Northern Iowa than CU was in stopping TCU. The Buffs gave up 413 yards of total offense to the Horned Frogs (86th nationally). Meanwhile, the Falcons gave up 405 yards of total offense to the Panthers (84th nationally);

Turnover-free … The Buffs did not commit a turnover in the opener for the fourth straight season … but … CU has never opened a season with two straight turnover-free games.


CU Player Notes … 

Some Symmetry … Tight end Brady Russell had three catches for 19 yards against TCU, giving him 665 receiving yards for his career. That number tied him for 43rd place on the all-time yardage list with Cliff Branch, who was honored during the TCU game for his entry into the NFL Hall of Fame;

Record-setterJordyn Tyson became the first true freshman in CU history to catch a touchdown pass in a season opener when he caught a 23-yarder for a score late in the TCU game. Only three red-shirt freshmen have caught touchdown passes in an opener, including Montana Lemonious-Craig in the 2021 opener against Northern Colorado;

First Career Starts … Three Buffs, all on the offensive side of the ball, made their first career starts in the opener: Sophomore wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig; sophomore offensive lineman (center) Austin Johnson; and graduate transfer offensive lineman (right guard) Tommy Brown;

Doubled up … The total number of career starts by cornerbacks on the CU roster entering the game against TCU was four … now it’s eight;

Injury list … A total of 81 players dress for the game against TCU, with 64 playing. The only scholarship players listed as “injured” on the CU participation sheet were senior offensive lineman Edgar Amaya; red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Allan Baugh; sophomore linebacker Joshka Gustav; sophomore linebacker Isaac Hurtado; freshman tight end Louis Passarello; freshman safety Xavier Smith; and freshman tailback Victor Venn.

Noteworthy … None of the above players were listed in the two-deep depth chart for the Buffs to start the season …

The list of players who have been lost for the season … Fortunately, the list remains at one after Week One, with sophomore linebacker Joshka Gustav the only Buff listed as being as “out for an extended time”.


Colorado and Air Force … historical

— In the 12 statistical categories tracked by Winsipedia, Air Force leads Colorado in only one of 12 categories … bowl winning percentage (pretty much every opponent of CU is ahead in this category, as the Buffs are 12-18 (.400) in bowl games, tied for 81st nationally;

— With Air Force not fielding a team until 1956, it is no surprise that Colorado has a significant advantage in all-time tallies, such as wins, bowl appearances, All-Americans, etc.

— In the category in which percentages is considered – all-time winning percentage – CU still has the advantage. The Buffs have an all-time winning percentage of .575 (718-526-36), 40th all-time, while Air Force has an all-time winning percentage of .552 (415-335-13), good enough for 58th all-time;

— There are some categories in which the Falcons are still registering a “0” … Zero first round NFL draft picks; Zero weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll (CU has 7); Zero Heisman trophy winners; and Zero national championships.


CU & Air Force … 

— Colorado leads the all-time series by a 12-5 count, which includes a 7-4 advantage in Boulder, and a 5-1 edge in games played in Colorado Springs. The two teams split the first six games of the series, played between 1958 and 1963. The Buffs then won nine of the next ten games before the series was renewed in Boulder in 2019;

— The last time CU traveled to play Air Force was in 1974, a 28-27 Buff victory. The only time in six tries in which the Falcons have beaten the Buffs at home was in 1963, a 17-14 victory in a game which had been postponed for two weeks after the assassination of President Kennedy;

Something to be said for Continuity … Not only is Troy Calhoun in his 16th year as head coach at Air Force, there is continuity in the coaching staff as well. AFA’s offensive coordinator, Mike Thiessen, is also in his 16th year in Colorado Springs, while defensive coordinator Brian Knorr is in his 11th year at Air Force. Oh, and all three are AFA grads. In fact, there are 10 coaches on the Air Force staff who attended the Air Force Academy;

Conference calls … CU is 132-43-4 all-time against current members of the Mountain West Conference (including 67-22-2 v. CSU and 24-2-1 against Wyoming). Air Force is 46-58-2 all-time against current members of the Pac-12 Conference;

Upset special … CU is 6-0 in the series when playing as a ranked team. The only game played with Air Force in the rankings was in 1970. The contest was played in Colorado Springs, with the Buffs coming away with a 49-19 upset.


The Last time …

September 14, 2019 … Air Force 30, Colorado 23, OT … 

Game story … Air Force running back Kadin Remsberg went 25 yards for a score on the first play of overtime to give the Falcons the lead, and Colorado was unable to answer, giving the Falcons a 30-23 overtime victory in a series which had laid dormant for 45 years. Colorado, fresh off of an upset win over Nebraska, raced out to a 10-0 lead before Air Force stormed back to go up 23-10. The Buffs scored the final 13 points in regulation, but had nothing left in overtime.

Game Essay, “Respect” … My essay for the Nebraska game, “Trust the Process“, opened with the following line:

“I had forgotten how much I hate Nebraska.”

For this weekend’s game against Air Force, I could well have opened with:

“I had no idea how much Air Force hates Colorado”. 

Or … at least how much some folks in Colorado Springs hate Boulder.

And it didn’t help matters much that one of those at the Air Force Academy who still harbored a hatred for all things CU and Boulder was its long-time athletic director, Hans Mueh.

Continue reading Essay here


Pac-12 Notes … 

— The NFL opens its season this weekend with 180 Pac-12 players on its rosters. Leading the way for the conference is Washington, with 27 alums playing, followed by UCLA (24), Stanford (23), USC (20), and Oregon (18). Colorado has 13 former Buffs on NFL rosters;

Pac-12 lines: Four Pac-12 teams double-digit underdogs (two favored by 45+ points)

From …

Saturday, September 10th (Pac-12 underdogs in bold) …

  • Southern Utah at Utah … 11:30 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Utah favored by 45.5 points
  • Colorado at Air Force … 1:30 p.m., MT, CBS … Air Force favored by 17.0 points 
  • Washington State at Wisconsin … 1:30 p.m., MT, Fox … Wisconsin favored by 17.0 points 
  • Portland State at Washington … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Washington favored by 28.5 points
  • UNLV at California … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … California favored by 13.5 points
  • Alabama State at UCLA … 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … UCLA favored by 50.5 points
  • Arizona State at Oklahoma State … 5:30 p.m., MT, ESPN2 … Oklahoma State favored by 11.5 points 
  • USC at Stanford … 5:30 p.m., MT, ABC … USC favored by 11.5 points
  • Eastern Washington at Oregon … 6:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Oregon favored by 20.0 points
  • Oregon State at Fresno State … 8:30 p.m., MT, CBS Sports Network … Fresno State favored by 1.5 points
  •  Mississippi State at Arizona … 9:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Mississippi State favored by 10.5 points


2 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts – CU v. AFA”

  1. ‘96 is when the the city of Boulder and CU Regents turned down Phil and Nike from moving their corporate campus to Boulder. This was the most bonehead decision in the history of CU. Phil, then dumped money into the Ducks… the rest is history. The Two schools would go in vastly different directions. Idiots.

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