FISHER'S IMPACT. AFA's all-time record now stands at
553 games. Fisher's tenure as head coach
spans 44.8% of the total number of games
the Falcons have played in their history, yet has produced
53.3% of the academy's victories. Another
mark of Fisher's success is that his teams have registered only
36.4% of the academy's all-time losses
while having played 44.8% of the total
number of games in AFA's football history. DeBerry has already won
20 more games than all other head football
coaches in AFA's history combined. The Falcons need four more victories to post
their 300th win.
CHARTING CARNEY’S CAREER.
On the premise it’s
never too soon to start keeping track of a good thing here’s a look at QB Shaun Carney on a game by game basis as he leads AFA’s offense from the QB position.
Cal 56 - 14
AFA 42 - 20
AFA 27 - 10
In three starts for the Falcons in his freshman year, Carney has
been directly involved in a play 96 times either running or passing the ball.
Those 96 plays have netted the team 568 yards or a healthy 5.91 yards each time
Carney has touched the ball. Perhaps most impressive of all is his 70%
completion rate when throwing the ball. The balance Carney has helped provide
the offense was most evident in the UNLV game. The Rebels defense was
off-balance during the evening because it had to respect AFA’s ability to throw
the ball effectively. This balance enabled the Falcons to sustain drives, score
points, keep its own defense well-rested and open the conference season with an
impressive17 point road win.
guidelines allow division 1-A teams to schedule 12 regular season games in a
year depending on the number of weekends which fall between Labor Day and the
first week of December. The next four years in which AFA would be eligible to
play 12 games are: 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2019.
Texas Christian University will become a full fledged member of the
MWC beginning with the 2005 football season. This means that the conference will
be comprised of nine teams and each school in the league will play every other
member annually. That gives AFA eight games a year. Throw in the yearly CIC
battles against Army and Navy and the Falcons have ten games seemingly in place
stretching into the far reaches of their football future.
At present AFA is under
contract for the 2006 season to play at Northwestern and at home against Notre Dame. However, 2006 is a year in which teams are eligible to play only eleven
regular season games.
The scenario is nearly the same for the 2007 season with AFA hosting
Northwestern and traveling to South Bend to face the Fighting Irish. It’s a
season in which current NCAA guidelines allow for only eleven regular season
The same situation arises in 2009 when AFA is scheduled to host
Texas A & M and meet North Texas in Denton. It’s a year in which only 11 games
The dilemma for the Falcons is a tough one. The AFA has played Notre
Dame and Northwestern with some frequency during Fisher DeBerry’s tenure. A home
game against the Fighting Irish is a cash cow for the Falcons and putting future
games against the Irish in jeopardy would be courting severe financial impact.
On the other side of the coin, Northwestern represents a school of similar
academic integrity to that of the AFA as well as being a member of the BCS.
Under current NCAA guidelines, one of the games in the 2006, 2007
and 2009 seasons will need to be dropped by AFA.
There are at least two ways in which to regard this potential
scheduling gridlock. For the season ticket buying public, it means AFA’s
schedule will have a highly repetitive nature since there will only be one slot
available for a non-MWC, non-military academy rival each year. On the other
hand, the current NCAA restriction allowing just eleven games in most seasons
may finally end AFA’s longstanding practice of scheduling games against division
1-AA opponents which have produced no drama and farcical mismatches while
forcing the public to pay premium prices for an inferior product.
THE MWC VERSUS THE BCS.
There’s a frequent cry of anguish which arises from camps of followers of MWC
teams bemoaning the fact that the league’s teams deserve more recognition on a
national basis given their individual and collective records against BCS
affiliated teams. Frankly, since the inception of the MWC its teams have not
fared well when stepping outside conference play when facing BCS teams. During
the course of the 2004 regular season MWC teams are scheduled to face members of
BCS affiliated conferences in19 games. Here’s a look at when and where the
match-ups are taking place as well as the outcomes and the MWC’s record in the
games played to date.
THE “200 WATCH”.
Having now signed a five year extension on a contract which was set to expire
after the 2004 season, Falcons’ fans can rest assured that Fisher DeBerry will
be stalking the sidelines through the fall of 2009. Never one to speak publicly
about coaching standards he might reach as the result of being the most
successful coach in service academy football history, I’ll mention a long term
benchmark at which DeBerry may finally be able to take aim. As the current
season began only sixteen coaches in division 1-A history had reached the 200
win plateau. Before retiring as head coach at Fresno State, Jim Sweeney became
the man to most recently arrive at 200 career victories. (Falling just short of
the 200 mark are: Dana Bible with 198 wins; Dan McGugin with 197 and Fielding
Yost and Howard Jones with 196).
Having posted his 158th win with the team’s victory
against UNLV, DeBerry stands 42 triumphs short of the vaunted goal with a bit
less than six seasons to go on his contract. Let the 200 Watch begin!
DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE? The Fisher DeBerry era, now in its
twenty-first season, has demonstrated that a crucial determinant in AFA’s
ability to win a game is the frequency with which the Falcons hold opponents to
twenty-three points or less. Fisher DeBerry had coached AFA in 248 games and
posted an overall record of 158-89-1(.637).
In 140 games the Falcons held their
opponents to 23 or fewer points and posted a dazzling
120-20 (.857) winning mark. In the
108 games the Falcons allowed their
opponents to score 24 or more points they have posted a desultory
38-69-1 (.356) record.
trend, established from 1984 through 1998, has continued in recent seasons as
well. From November 18, 1999 through this year‘s UNLV game, Air Force has
played fifty games against division 1-A opponents. In those fifty games Air
Force has compiled a 28-22(.560) record.
In 32 (64.0%) of those games Air Force
allowed 24 or more points to the opposition. In those 32 games when allowing 24
or more points, AFA’s record is 12-20 (.375).
In the eighteen games in which the Falcons allowed twenty-three points or less
AFA posted a mark of 16-2(.888).
The preponderance of evidence over twenty years is clear: when AFA
limits the opposition to 23 points or less it wins. When AFA allows twenty-four
points or more its chances to win decrease rapidly and the figures support this
assessment. Whether you take the long view over Fisher’s twenty years as the
team’s coach or the short view from November 1999 to the present the outcomes
are strikingly similar: when AFA holds its opponent to twenty-three or fewer
points it wins and when it allows twenty-four or more points it loses.