It's hard to imagine just how fast the Falcons went from the top of the Mountain West to the bottom. Or maybe it's how short their stay as a decent conference team was. It wasn't that long ago Air Force was fighting with the best of them for a conference title and a postseason berth. But high turnover on the coaching front has done some extreme damage and though Jeff Reynolds seems like a good guy, he just isn't getting it done in Colorado Springs.
Saturday's game against the Utes was further proof of this. It was the Falcons' fifth loss in as many tries to open conference play and has locked them down in that dreaded nine spot for the foreseeable future.
Hard to imagine for a program that just three seasons ago were coming off a two-year stretch where they went 50-16. But it is.
For Utah, I'm not sure what it means. The team looked horrid at the start, settled down and did about what I expected against a bad team. Maybe that's the best sign of all because this season has seen a good deal of poor efforts against supposed 'bad' teams throughout the country.
What I did like was Marshall Henderson. He was simply dominant with his career high 22 points and he might be the brightest aspect of this team heading into the future.
Henderson played 17 minutes and had four 3-pointers, tying the school record for a freshman at 43 - with a good number of games left to go.
Of course, this win doesn't change much. Utah lost a chance to become a conference player, I fear, with their San Diego State loss. However, they're not fully eliminated from making noise. Unfortunately, they face a grueling two-game stretch on the road this week against Wyoming and the now-unstoppable Cougars. A split, most likely with a win over the Cowboys and a loss to BYU, might be the best we can hope for.
But for now, at least they look improved. Even if just slightly. Hopefully they can sustain it.