Months later an odd turn of events started to unfold. CSU, seemingly perennial favorites to win the MWC, started to fall all over itself in Fort Collins starting 2-3 on the season.
BYU showed signs that the 2002 season might not have been a mere aberration, but the start of a trend.
New Mexico, which returned as many or more starters on both sides of the ball as any MWC team, broke from the gate in a staggering fashion by losing to BYU at home in the league's first conference game this fall.
Suddenly, home games for AFA against UNLV and Utah--teams which historically have never drawn well in Colorado Springs--began to assume a potentially far greater importance in the chase for an MWC title than had been imagined possible.
Fans along the I-25 corridor are infamously fair-weather in their willingness to trek to college stadia in the fall. With CU struggling this fall and CSU stumbling through the month of September fans may back away in droves from driving to Boulder and Fort Collins. The Denver Broncos have teased fans with a 4-0 start. All of which leaves the AFA Falcons in the lurch waiting for someone to notice they are ranked--not rank--and showing signs of being viable and vital contenders for a league crown.
Will the team's brilliant 5-0 start--regardless of the strength of schedule--persuade casual fans to make a trip to Falcon Stadium? History sounds an emphatic "NO."
Attendance for three home games this season has been abominable. With the Rebels and Utes being poor draws in the past AFA may find itself rising in the polls while playing before "crowds" which stagnate in growth or even shrink.
If you are in the Denver/Colorado Springs area in the coming weeks do yourself
a favor: stop by the stadium next to the Rampart Range and catch a game with
a nationally ranked team which could be headed higher in the polls, on the verge
of a league title for the first time since 1998 and well on its way to capturing
yet another postseason bowl bid.
GO FALCONS, SINK NAVY!