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Home / Articles / Jeff’s 2023-24 Mountain West Conference Football Spotlight Team

Jeff’s 2023-24 Mountain West Conference Football Spotlight Team

By: Jeff Hochman     Date: Jul 17, 2023
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Air Force Falcons Over 8.5 (-120)

Air Force Under 8.5 (-105)

Air Force MWC Champions (+400)

Air Force to win CFB Championship (+50000)


Troy Calhoun, an esteemed coach, is embarking on his 17th season with the Falcons. Throughout his career, he has achieved an impressive straight-up record of 121-78. Air Force has won 10 or more games in the past three full seasons while outgaining opponents in 33 out of 39 contests. This can be attributed to their outstanding defense, a crucial component of their success. No other college football team limited Division-1 opponents to season-low yards as effectively as the Falcons did last season. This achievement was made possible through their exceptional defense, which ultimately resulted in them finishing the season with the nation's top-ranked overall defense. To cap off their double-digit win season, Air Force delivered an emphatic 30-15 victory against Baylor in the Armed Forces Bowl, outgaining the Bears 379-230.

There are several reasons why the Air Force Falcons have a strong chance of exceeding their 8.5-win total in the upcoming 2023 season. Over the past decade, they have consistently been one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. This consistency is a testament to their coaching staff and the program's ability to develop and groom talent.

Air Force has a solid returning core of experienced players. While they may have lost key players on offense, they still have a solid group of veterans who can step up and fill those roles. This continuity and experience will be crucial in helping the team gel and perform at a high level. The Falcons owned the 9th-best offensive line and 19th-best defensive line last season. It doesn’t matter who’s on the roster; Air Force is consistently ranked in the Top 20 in line play. Football is won and lost in the trenches, and the Falcons are consistently top-notch on both lines.

Losing Vince Sanford, a versatile linebacker, is a concern. However, Peyton Zdroik's quickness complements a solid linebacker rotation. Though undersized, the linebackers are agile. The safety-loaded secondary, including Camby Goff, Jayden Goodwin, and Trey Taylor, is among the best in the Mountain West. The cornerbacks should be adequate even if the safeties do most of the work.

Air Force's style of play is characterized by a disciplined and efficient approach that prioritizes ball control and the execution of their game plan, which has led to a history of success. Their offense relies on a triple-option attack, bolstered by a well-coached team that can limit turnovers and mental miscues. In 2022, Air Force ranked No. 45 in overall team efficiency and tied for fourth place in the fewest penalties per contest (3.8), demonstrating their commitment to playing a clean and disciplined game.

Air Force has a favorable schedule for the 2023 season with opportunities to exceed their win total. They will face tough opponents but have games against weaker or rebuilding teams. Taking advantage of these matchups can contribute significantly to their overall win total. The Falcons' schedule ranks No. 128, based on their opponents' record of 63-83 (43.2%) courtesy of Phil Steele. Only five teams will play a more manageable schedule than Air Force this upcoming season.

Some question marks loom heading into the season as the team needs to replace a key linebacker. This could impact the defense's ability to stop opposing offenses. However, the Falcons have always had a "next man up" mentality and several players are ready to step in and fill the void. Their ability to develop and replace talent is unparalleled, and their veteran leadership gives them an edge over other teams in the MWC. While losing a key linebacker is a concern, this team has the depth and resilience to overcome any obstacle. It won't be surprising if the Falcons exceed their 8.5-win total and make a run at the conference championship at plus money.

My Selections (Best Bets): Air Force Falcons Over 8.5 (-120) & Air Force to Win MWC (+400)

Jeff enjoyed another winning College Football regular and Bowl seasons in 2022-23, showing a net profit of $2,562 documented at The Sports Monitor of OK.

Now on a 10-4 run with my last 14 and 27-14 run with my last 41 CFB picks! $1,000/game players have cashed in $25,950 on my CFB picks since 11/26/16! Early bird Football packages now on sale!

Follow Jeff on Twitter @JHSPORTSLINE

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