A Dark Tunnel With Light at The End For The Air Force Falcons

Joe CairoContributor INovember 13, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MARCH 11:  Marcus Walker #4 of the Colorado State Rams drives against Evan Washington #35 of the Air Force Falcons during the first round of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center March 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Falcons won 71-67.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Loss, loss, loss, and loss again. 16 times in a row. That's what Air Force's conference slate looked like last year. The immediate future looks bleak for the Falcons. Almost pitched black. Losing the top three scorers on a 10-21 (0-16) team leaves the future with major question marks. The long-term, not so much

There were the glory days of Air Force basketball. In the 2003-04 season, the Falcons made their first trip to the NCAA tournaments in more than 40 years. Two years went by and the Falcons found themselves back in the tournament. The program seemed to garner some attention and respect as they lost admirably in both their NCAA tournament games. Then it all fell apart - faster than the blink of an eye.

After an overachieving year in the 2007-08 season, 08-09 was a complete 180 degree tailspin. The Falcons looked promising. Losing only one starter from a 16-14 team, the Falcons seemed poised to make another run. That wasn't the case as the Falcons skidded to a horrendous season. That looked like the beginning of the end for the Falcons, but there may be hope for the future. Air Force, who opens Nov 13 against Western State, may not have it so bad.

The starting five all have good a amount of playing experience. Even the bench players have legitimate experience as last year's debacle left the team scrambling for a spark. Their playing time seemed  to pay off as four of the last six games of the season were decided by single digits.

Lastly, the Falcons have the best athleticism and height as any team that's wore an Air Force uniform in quite awhile if not ever. Even coach Jeff Reynolds admitted the previous statement

 Maybe the Falcons have it in them. Maybe they have what it takes to mature and surprise everyone. They have the tools, but will the tools be ready for this season? A team with only one senior starter and three seniors total makes it tough for this to happen in one year. You will see this team come together some time in the future, but the glory years when Clune was a dreaded place for an opposing team is what all Falcons fans want back. If Air Force can put all of it together maybe this year will be one we can look back on and say that wasn't a bad team. Or maybe we'll see it and think loss, loss, loss...