Air Force vs. Washington State
When: Friday, December 27th at 10:30 pm. ET
Where: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
How to Follow: ESPN, 104.3 The Fan (Falcon Radio), KIRO 710 (Cougar Radio)
This bowl has gone by many names since its inception in 1989. Previously it has been called The Copper Bowl, The Insight Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and the Cactus Bowl. With a new sponsor every few years it seems like this is the constantly changing “I don’t know who sponsors us, but play a bowl in Arizona for a 1.65 million dollar payout”. Somehow, someway fans find that to be a less attractive title and here we arrive at the Cheez-It Bowl for this year. Usually, this would feature a Pac 12 vs. Big 12 matchup, but the Falcons terrific season boosted them into a favorable pairing with Washington State. While the Falcons record is resoundingly better, it will be quite a challenge nonetheless to beat a Washington State team stacked with talent rather than wins.
PC: Falcon Football Facebook
Air Force Falcons 10-2 (7-1 Mountain West)
The Falcons put together an impressive resume that would have won them the West Division of the conference, but instead they finish second in the Mountain Division of the conference behind champions Boise State. The lone losses were to Boise State 30-19 and Navy 34-25. The Falcons also tallied some important and rivalry wins including Colorado 30-23 in OT, Hawaii 56-26, Army 17-13, Colorado State 38-21, and Wyoming 20-6.
Offense: Donald Hammond III, QB is the all star of the offense. He has racked up 491 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on the ground and 1,286 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. With the triple option scheme it is almost impossible for anyone outside of quarterback or running back to be the most productive offensive star.
Defense: Demonte Meeks, LB has been first one to the ball and first one to set the tone of the game. Meeks has 97 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
Washington State Cougars 6-6 (3-6 Pac 12)
This is not the season Mike Leach set out to find this year. The Pac 12 is a hard place to play, but if you want to be the best you have to win. Despite the talent available on this team the Cougars are the 8th best Pac 12 team. The deceiving part of their position and record is that three of their games were decided by one score. If the Cougars had scored 13 more points total (4 vs UCLA, 4 vs ASU, and 3 vs Oregon) then this could be a 9-3 team with wins over #18 and #11 at the time. The Cougars were missing one to two pieces throughout the season that kept them from being a truly dominant West Coast team.
Offense: Anthony Gordon, QB has produced a sensational amount of yards and touchdowns despite the win column. Gordon has thrown 5,228 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Besides the turnovers, Gordon has been a prolific and top passer in the entire FBS.
Defense: Jahad Woods, LB has stood far above the defense in statistics. Woods has 121 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Woods has 55 more tackles than anyone else on the team.
Air Force comes into the game with four more wins, but a three point deficit in some betting lines. The Falcons have been dominant in the Mountain West, but can they hang with the Cougars high powered air-raid scheme? This game may come down to how prepared and healthy is the Falcons secondary as the deep ball will be a huge threat. As for the rest Air Force has better chemistry in the majority of the factors considered in this game. If the Falcons defend the deep ball and gash the Cougar defense for rushing yards it should be attainable for an Air Force win.
Air Force 41, Washington State 38
My name is Ben Schleiger and I’m your representative for the Big Sky Conference. I have done work for multiple newspapers and sports blogs including The Johnstown Breeze, The University of Northern Colorado Mirror, and Mile High Maniac. I am a proud alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. In my free time, I like watching sports, playing video games, and trying new foods.