Air Force plans assault on Irish

Nov 7, 2006 2:51 AM

Call this Air Force’s bowl game.

It’s Notre Dame weekend, and just at the right time for Fisher DeBerry’s fly boys. The Force delivered an incredible 36-point bomb in the second quarter last Friday at Army in the greatest implosion of a team since the Six Day War in the Middle East more than a generation ago.

Off course, that was real war and this is football. But don’t tell that to the Falcons, Fighting Irish and those of us that will bet this apparent mismatch.

Notre Dame has one loss, but still with aspirations of a shot at a national championship. Air Force, off the impressive night against the mistake-prone Cadets, is playing for pride and memories of four straight wins over the Irish during the Gerry Faust years at South Bend.

That’s a distant memory for today’s matchup. Air Force is a lowly 1-10 straight up and 4-7 against the spread against Notre Dame since 1986. For those who don’t buy trends, take note: Air Force had been 5-10 ATS in its last 15 games as an away favorite.

Now, it’s 6-10.

Notre Dame has quarterback Brady Quinn, a Heisman hopeful in need of several monster games and an Ohio State loss that would dim the chances of Troy Smith.

Air Force has Shaun Carney, a capable QB who has shown flashes as a passer. But any Fisher DeBerry team, and there have been 23 now at Colorado Springs, believes in running the football, protecting it and eliminating errors.

Does Air Force have a chance? Well, they are a longshot, but they can certainly the cover the number, which figures to be at or near double-digits. The Falcons do have another negative to conquer — they are 2-6 ATS since 2001 in November home games.

Notre Dame is off a 45-26 victory over North Carolina, which looked easy but in reality was another spread loss. The Irish are just 3-6 ATS in board games this season, covering just 33 percent. Air Force is an even 4-4 ATS.

It’s going to be tough for the Falcons to produce a winning season with games coming up at home with Utah and on the road against UNLV and TCU.

There’s always hope for Falcons rooters that Notre Dame is looking head to its huge BCS matchup at USC on Nov. 25. No way the Irish are thinking next week against Army.

Unless they plan on scoring 42 in the second quarter.

Preferred pick: Air Force and the points if 14 or more. If 10 or less, the Irish. Anything in the middle, negotiate.