College Football Preview: Wyoming at Air Force

College Football Preview:  Wyoming at Air Force

In a boxing match when a power punch meets a slick tactical opponent its called a ‘contrast in styles’. We’ve got the football version of that dynamic on tap Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colorado as the Air Force Academy hosts the University of Wyoming. Wyoming started the 2013 season by ripping the porous Nebraska defense for over 600 yards in a 37-34 loss to the Cornhuskers giving them an easy pointspread cover as +31 point underdogs. Despite that impressive performance the general public has yet to catch on to this Cowboys’ team—possibly due to the subsequent struggles of Bo Pelini’s defense leading them to believe that Wyoming’s performance against Nebraska was just part of that.

It wasn’t—Wyoming’s offense is very potent led by arguably the most underrated quarterback in the country in Brett Smith. Before the season I told anyone that would listen that Smith could be the breakout quarterback of the 2013 season. You think that his 383 yard, 4 TD day against Nebraska would have made the clueless masses sit up and take notice—and given the early line movement on this game clearly some football bettors have done just that—but he’s still not being afforded the respect he deserves.

Historically, Air Force is a team that we look to bet on but they’ve been a terrible pointspread team in recent years and particularly at home. They’re 10-19 ATS since 2011 and a dismal 3-12 ATS at home despite going 10-5 SU in that stretch. Air Force lost their starting quarterback, Kale Pearson, to an ACL injury during last week’s game. At press time it doesn’t appear that he’ll require surgery but the team says he’ll be out ‘for awhile’. The good news is that the quarterback position is fairly interchangeable in the triple option offense. Sophomore Jaleel Awini came in after Pearson’s injury and will get the start in this game. The bad news is that although Awini hasn’t performed badly the offense just isn’t putting up numbers on the ground (162 yards against Utah State, 188 yards against Boise State).

And here’s the really bad news for the Falcons—their defense has been awful this year and the bad offense/bad defense dynamic simply doesn’t work. Air Force is ranked #109 in team defense about FBS teams and with all due respect to Utah State’s talented Chuckie Keaton they may be facing the best quarterback they’ve seen this year against Wyoming. Smith should shred the Air Force stop unit and based on the Falcons’ offensive performance so far they won’t be able to keep up. Wyoming wins this one going away.