What’s that? Is that the sound of the conference realignment sirens going off?
Well, maybe, thanks to an unlikely source.
On Saturday, Air Force cobbled together a pretty impressive 43-24 win over defending Mountain West champions Fresno State. Despite a convincing final score, Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun didn’t seem all that happy with the game against the Bulldogs and decided to take the opportunity in his post-game press conference to question his school’s placement in the conference for both the short and long term.
“We are in a league where, to be blunt, I don’t know if it’s the route maybe (we) should go,” Calhoun said, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Yet for our guys, the way they played tonight and the preparation and just the focus all week long was pretty strong, which is a really strong indicator of the quality of the leadership that we have.
“I just don’t know if it’s really a match. I don’t know if it’s best. I don’t know if… Now, we are. And we’re lucky to be, just the quality of the schools of the other member institutions that are a part of it.”
That’s an, uh, interesting way of framing things for Air Force but not something out of the ordinary for Calhoun, who the Gazette notes has said similar things about the MWC earlier this year.
It seems a lot of the unease about the league might be down to the travel schedule they’re putting the Falcons through. The team was in Annapolis last week to take on rival Navy (in a non-conference game) and then returned home to face Fresno State. They’ll head to Hawaii next Saturday and then return home to play Utah State and Army before hitting the road for two more conference games.
Travel is certainly not easy for anybody but you can at least see why Calhoun is a bit ticked that his program is quite literally going from one end of the country to the other and then halfway back in a span of three weeks.
The bigger question is if Air Force brass shares the concerns Calhoun has with their conference affiliation and what, if any, actions will be taken going forward. There is an opening with the AAC thanks to UConn’s departure but travel would be even harder in that league with frequent trips East and life as an independent has proven quite challenging for former MWC member BYU in recent years (the Cougars just made back-to-back trips to Toledo, OH and Tampa, FL for example).
Perhaps this is just a case of a head coach letting out a little steam but it certainly qualifies as a situation worth monitoring in Colorado Springs.