Is Air Force eyeing independent status?

Guess who might join Army and Navy as an independent? Air Force. First-year Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said this week that the Falcons should look at the possibility of leaving the Mountain West and becoming an independent. Air Force has been a member of the Mountain West since its inception in 1999.

According to Calhoun, schools like Army, Navy, and Notre Dame have a freedom that conference teams don't have. They can schedule all of their own games and can lock up a bowl bid before the season even starts.

"I think there are some advantages to being an independent for service academies," Calhoun said. "You have complete control of your schedule and it's probably something we should look at big picture wise."

Army played in Conference USA from 1997 to 2004, struggling to compete in the competitive league. But Air Force has been very competitive in the MWC. Air Force is free to leave the MWC at any time.

Army vs. Navy on Dec. 1 in Baltimore might not be the last service academy battle of the season. Calhoun would like a rematch with Navy in the Dec. 20 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Navy beat Air Force 31-20 on Sept. 29.

"If you've ever been stationed overseas, you would know how much a game like that would mean," Calhoun said. "I think it would be the absolute gem of the postseason. It would be seen all over the world on the world's greatest sports networks."

According to The Denver Post, speculation about an Air Force-Navy rematch in the Poinsettia Bowl, to be televised on ESPN, surfaced Saturday at the Wyoming-Air Force game at Falcon Stadium. Weldon Donaldson, a representative of the San Diego bowl, brought up the interest in the service academy game. He noted there had not been discussions with Navy officials or coach Paul Johnson to determine interest.

Air Force (6-3) is already bowl-eligible. Navy (4-3) needs to more wins to qualify for the postseason.

Air Force has won 16 of its last 19 games against Army at home. But Army beat the Falcons in Colorado Springs in 2005. Before that, the Black Knights hadn't won at Air Force since 1977. "Honestly, that was the biggest win of my career," said Army fullback Mike Viti. "It was really special. Beating one of your rivals, especially out there on their home field was a great feeling. Air Force had a pretty good team that year, like they do this year, so trying to recapture what we did two years ago is our goal now."

Winning again would be something special. Army has never won back-to-back games at Air Force.

Extra points: Air Force has won nine of 10 games against overall and 16 of the last 18 ..... Former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry is hoping to be at Army-Air Force game. DeBerry resigned last December after 23 seasons as Air Force's head coach and 169 victories, the most by a service academy coach ..... Air Force is 6-0 this season when holding its opponents to 21 or fewer points. In each of its three defeats, the Falcons have allowed 31 or more points.


ArmySports.com Top Stories