For Air Force, Friday's game against Boise State is a chance to stake their claim at the top of the Mountain West Conference. For the Broncos, it's their last chance to stay alive in the league race.
Air Force controls their own destiny atop the Mountain Division with a 6-1 record in conference play, but their final two contests of the season are road games against the teams that are tied for second beneath them. This week, they'll travel up to the blue turf of Boise to take on a Bronco team that was knocked from the division's top spot last week when they were upset by New Mexico 31-24.
However, beating the Broncos may not be enough to clinch a spot in the league's championship game. If New Mexico beats 5-5 Colorado State this weekend, then the Falcons and Lobos would start their playoffs early with a division-deciding showdown in Albuquerque.
Boise State needs to protect their home field to stay in the race. Last week's loss dropped them to 4-2 in conference play, but they can still clinch the Mountain crown with two wins and a UNM loss in the next two weeks. That won't be easy against the Falcons as they'll have to stop an offense that's scored nearly 39 points per game in their last four matchups. That's bad news for BSU. They've allowed 39.3 points per game in their three losses this season, but only 11.1 in their seven wins.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Boise State is favored by 11 points.
Three big things to know
1. It's not often that your quarterback throws for more than 500 yards and you only score 24 points in a loss, but that's exactly what happened to Boise State last week. Four turnovers, including three Brett Rypien interceptions, were ultimately too much for the Broncos to overcome. They had six drives that spanned 40 yards or more but ended without a single point. If BSU can't finish drives on Friday then they'll be ripe for another upset loss.
2. Air Force has seven wins this season, but only one has come against a team ranked higher than 99th in Jeff Sagarin's ratings. Are the Falcons a paper tiger? Or are they primed for a resume-building road win?
3. Like any good service academy, Air Force's strategy is to bludgeon you to death with their running attack. They've gained more rushing yards than all but two FBS programs this year and six different Falcons have gained 300 yards or more on the ground this season. That includes quarterback Karson Roberts, a slippery runner who leads the team in touchdowns but can also stun you through the air. In his last two games, he's completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns.