Title hopes on the line

When CSU gets its schedule each year, the Air Force game is always circled. A game against an in-state and in-conference foe is always one you want to win. But this year, when the Falcons jumped out to a 6-0 record and jumped ahead of the Rams in the top 25, CSU made that circle a little darker.

And while those same Falcons have since lost two in a row (to now No. 4 Notre Dame and Wyoming) it doesn't mean this Thursday night's match up between the rivals has lost it's luster.

CSU (7-2) is tied atop the Mountain West standings at 3-0 in conference play with surprising San Diego State, which is 3-5 overall. Air Force is 3-1 in league play, meaning that if it were to knock off CSU on Thursday in Colorado Springs, both teams could finish the year with one league loss, and Air Force would have the tiebreaker.

That's what the Falcons are planning on happening, especially since the Rams are 0-4 in Thursday night games on the road. The Rams have different plans, which include an undefeated league record and their first Thursday night road win after having a full week to prepare, compared to the five days the Falcons have had since the Wyoming loss.

CSU and Air Force have met once previously on Thursday night. The Falcons kicked a last-minute field goal to rally for a 30-27 win on ESPN in 1998 at Falcon Stadium.

And Thursday night's game, which is on Halloween, is expected to be just as close. Since CSU head coach Sonny Lubick arrived in 1993, his team has won six of the nine meetings, and the average margin of victory is 8.5 points. The three games Air Force has won were by an average margin of 10.5 points.

The past four games between these teams have been decided by seven or fewer points, and four of the past nine games have been decided by four or fewer points.

As if the game weren't interesting enough, forecasts for Thursday night say snow showers are likely and temperatures will be in the teens.

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