Air Force vs. Northern Iowa 09.JPG

Falcons place kicker Matthew Dapore attempts a field goal Sept. 3 against Northern Iowa at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs. COLLEGE FOOTBALL EXTRA: Online-only in The Gazette e-edition at

Incoming cadets must turn in their cellphones when they arrive for basic training and, with the exception of written correspondence, go dark to the world for roughly six weeks.

After that, however, news reaches those at the Air Force Academy just like everywhere else.

So, yes, the Falcons are well aware that oddsmakers have pegged them a staggering 17.5-point favorite against Colorado for Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. game at Falcon Stadium.

The line opened with the Falcons favored by 13, then quickly moved toward a more lopsided prediction.

“I would say it’s maybe more scary,” said Air Force senior guard Isaac Cochran when asked if such a wide point spread is confidence-building or frightening. “Whenever you’re playing college football, any team can win each week.”

The Falcons and Buffaloes have met just once in the past 47 years, with Air Force winning 30-23 in overtime at Folsom Field in 2019.

Air Force has won three in a row over Power Five competition, but all the wins have been close. The CU game was tied at the end of regulation, the Falcons scored a touchdown with 3:50 remaining to beat Washington State by 10 points in the 2019 Cheez-It Bowl, and last December's First Responder Bowl saw a 31-28 victory over Louisville.

Sign Up For Free: Mile High 5

Your daily report on everything sports in Colorado - covering the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and columns from Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

The Falcons were favored in all but one game last year. They beat Boise State as 5.5 underdogs and lost as favorites to Army (-2.5), San Diego State (-2.5) and Utah State (-8).

This weekend’s point spread is so large it warrants context.

The Falcons were 11.5-point favorites at New Mexico last year. They had beaten the Lobos 44-22 the last time they visited Albuquerque in 2019 and shut them out 28-0 in 2020 — the year 10 of Air Force’s 11 projected starters on defense left on turnbacks during the height of COVID.

The only team Air Force was favored to beat in 2021 by a wider margin than they are favored to beat the Buffs on Saturday was UNLV. The Rebels limped into Falcon Stadium as 18.5-point underdogs with a 2-9 record. Air Force clobbered them 48-14 without completing a pass.

That’s the level the oddsmakers are placing CU at on Saturday.

Cochran said the spread won’t impact any aspect of Air Force’s preparation.

“We really don’t concern ourselves with point spread,” he said.