College Football Picks: Side With Air Force +7 vs. San Diego St.

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, December 3, 2015 11:02 PM GMT

The Mountain West Championship Game between the Air Force Falcons and the San Diego State Aztecs is our CFB Under the Radar Game of the Week and in this article we offer our college football pick and insight for this matchup.

Air Force vs. San Diego State (-7) 7:30 ET ESPN2
Air Force visits San Diego St. for this 7:30 ET kick as televised by ESPN2.  It will decide the Mountain West Championship and the league’s No. 1 Bowl slot.  In a day of 7 conference championship games, this one will hold the least interest among sports bettors, as it is in the same time slot as USC/Stanford, N. Carolina/Clemson and Michigan St./Iowa.  As such, and with a hint of Lone Ranger Contrary Pick, I make it our Under the Radar Game of the Week.

 

San Diego State Aztecs
I first turn your attention to the exploits of HC Rocky Long and his San Diego St. Aztecs.  All they have done is sweep the Mountain West with an 8-0 SU ATS mark, in which they have won every contest by 14 or more points.  That is typical of Rocky Long coached teams, who now have a record of 20-5 ATS after Game 5.  In typical fashion, it has been Long’s 3-3-5 defense which has led the way.  They have a (+20) net TO margin which is No. 1 in the nation.  It is that unique defense that has also been highly successful at defending the option.  This includes going 4-0 SU ATS in the most recent 4 meetings vs. Air Force by scores of (in reverse) 30-14 last year, 27-20, 28-9 and 41-27.   In last year’s victory, the Aztec defense held Air Force to just 140 yards overland, their lowest output of the season.  Aside from their defensive calling card, it has been a strong ground attack behind RB Pumphrey and Pace, averaging 228/4.8 that has led the way.  In last week’s 31-14 victory over Nevada, they held the overland yardage edge 318-30.  Bad news from that victory was the loss of QB Maxwell Smith (knee) who is OFY.

 

Air Force Falcons
Enter the Air Force, who was caught in a look-ahead to this game last week, after they already clinched their spot in the Mountain West Championship.  Visiting an improved New Mexico team, the Air Force lost 3 fumbles and was uncharacteristically outrushed 377-222 in a (47-35) loss.  But in recent weeks, the Fly Boys have become more than a one-trick pony.  Perhaps looking forward to this Championship matchup against the Rocky Long defense, saavy 9th year Air Force HC Calhoun has taken to the airways.  In their last 3 contests, behind QB Roberts, they passed for 271 vs. Utah St., 279 vs. Boise and 167 vs. New Mexico.  That compares to an average of only 136 PYPG for the season.  Of equal intrigue in this game is a vastly improved Air Force defensive front.  After allowing 250/5.1 overland in 2013, Calhoun has improved the rush defense to 137/3.9 last year and 118/3.7 this year (even with the letdown vs. New Mexico last week).  It will come as no surprise if the Fly Boys begin to play like their moniker and take advantage of replacement frosh QB Chapman to record an Under the Radar upset victory. 

I invite you to put the college football odds in our favor and join me in my college football pick on Air Force as my CFB Under the Radar Game of the Week.

College Football Picks: Air Force +7 at 5Dimes

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