Hello Old Friend

It’s hard to believe that it has been just over 40 years since Air Force and Colorado tangled on the gridiron.

The last time Colorado and Air Force faced off in a football game was in 1974. A lot has changed since 1974: the Watergate scandal was front-page news, a pound of tomatoes was only 18 cents, and you could get a righteous tube-shaped TV for only $264.

Now, we crush salsa at $3 per jar, scream at our credit-card thin and perfectly mounted TVs that put us back more than a pretty penny, and front-page news this Saturday is the flight of the falcon versus the stampede of the buffalo.

Although this was once viewed as a fierce rivalry, the contention has faded over time. A lot can be forgotten in forty years. Now, there are many Buffs’ fans who don’t consider this a rivalry game at all. It’s just another bump in the road on their way to their first perfect season. For the Falcon faithful, perhaps things are different. This might be a chance for them to prove their legitimacy, a chance to quiet a fellow-State team and prove the Colorado Buffaloes are not the only good team in town.

For fans, it is always fun to see two in-state teams on the same field and this game will be no different. Both sides carry respect for each other but when you step on the grass of Folsom Field, respect is earned, not given, until the moment the clock reads double zeroes. This is something both teams know very well.

This is another opportunity for Mel Tucker and the Buffaloes. To be victorious against the Falcons and their triple-option offense, which, I guess, has at least stood the test of time, the Buffaloes will need to keep Tucker’s chant in mind: be relentless. This is a battle between old-school regimes and new-wave style of play. Only one team will leave this stadium still undefeated. In order for that team to be the Buffaloes, it will be essential that they quash the triple option.

Anybody who has loved the game a long time respects the triple option. Although it may seem a bit archaic, it has a purpose: maximize your time of possession and melt the defense. To mitigate the attempted damage, the Buffaloes will need to maintain a gap-sound defense and relegate the Falcons to between the hash marks.

If the Buffaloes allow Falcon play to extend beyond 3 to 4 yards at a time, the Buffaloes’ defensive depth will prove problematic as it pushes into the final quarter. This, however, will have to truly be a team effort, as most things are. It’s not enough for the defense to do its job, the Buffaloes offense will also have to win the battle up front. After all, the triple option is not very effective from the sidelines.

Personally, I hope to see the Buffs’ offense maintain long, steady drives, spread the field out, get Shenault going early, and become a four-quarter team. At this point, the Buffaloes have momentum, and it’s no secret that the Buffaloes are clearly the better team.

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There is no reason they can’t keep the momentum going this weekend, especially as they get ready to head into Arizona State and start conference play. That said, the Buffaloes can’t overlook the Falcons. The old cliché rings true: one day at a time, one game at a time. Relentless every time.

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