Air Force will play its second straight Thursday night road game tonight in Fort Collins, Colo. The Falcons lost to Utah last Thursday, 38-35, after Air Force had a short week of preparation. The Utes, who played the week before at TCU, had a full week to prepare.
This time, it's the Falcons who have the advantage in preparation time. Colorado State beat Nevada 42-21 on Saturday.
But Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said the road team is at a disadvantage in Thursday night contests.
"All I know is when your players get back home at 3 o'clock in the morning and have to go to school the next day . . . particularly at the academy, it throws things out of whack because everybody here is so ingrained into a daily schedule, so it takes its toll a little bit I think, and I do think it's tougher on the team that has to travel," DeBerry said.
"Personally I as a coach don't like Thursday games, but I guess it's good for college football and good for the institutions and certainly good for the conferences to get that exposure."
The Mountain West Conference's replay system upheld TCU receiver Cory Rodgers' controversial game-winning touchdown in overtime against BYU on Saturday.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, on this week's Mountain West coach's teleconference, pointed out that on Saturday, replay also benefited the Cougars on the scoreboard.
"I really enjoy the instant replay," Patterson said. "You know, people look back at the last play . . . there was a lot of opinions about the last play of the game in overtime, but I'll tell you, you know, without it, you could take 10 points off the board for BYU because they got a field goal and a touchdown on a couple fumbles that, you know, at first they said that we were going to get and then when they watched them and they replayed them, they overturned them. So I think it goes both ways.
"I'm excited about the replay system. I think it keeps it in balance, and the game's getting so fast, I think it helps the officials to be able to do their job."
But BYU didn't benefit as much as Patterson said.
Mountain West Conference instant-replay statistics from Week 4 show only one fumble call being overturned and only three replay stoppages from the BYU-TCU game.
BYU kicked a field goal in the second quarter after what was initially ruled to be a Daniel Coats fumble and TCU recovery was overturned. BYU's other successful challenge came earlier when a Tye Gunn completion to Quentily Harmon down to the BYU 2-yard line was ruled incomplete by replay officials. TCU eventually kicked a field goal on that drive.
The third challenge was on Rodgers' touchdown run.
New UNLV coach and former Ute assistant Mike Sanford is 1-3 through his first four games as head coach. He said that while he feels good about his coaching staff and the commitment of the administration, the experience has been tough.
"It's been a great experience, but it's also been a frustrating experience," he said. " . . . It's been a very frustrating year because we've come close . . . we barely won the game we won, and been down to the wire pretty much in all the other games and lost to some teams that in my mind we really should have beaten. It's been great but frustrating.
Six conference games have been played so far in 2005, and all but one have been decided by three points or less. Two of those games (TCU's wins over Utah and BYU) went to overtime . . . BYU's 51-50 loss to the Horned Frogs in Provo was the Cougars' first-ever overtime loss. BYU is now 5-1 in overtime contests. The game also marked the first time two MWC teams combined to score more than 100 points in a game . . . Wyoming, which struggled to win away from home last season, already has two road wins in 2005 (29-28 at Air Force, 24-14 at Ole Miss) . . . New Mexico and UTEP combined for just 533 total yards in the Miners' 21-13 victory in El Paso, Texas. BYU and TCU combined for 1,089 yards in their contest.