A Barack-tastic pair of Air Force Ones seems fitting for a series preview when the Falcons are coming to town, but "Yes We Can" flies right in the face of the complete lack of enthusiasm about this team that a majority of the fanbase seems to have.
If there's one site that will not be welcome to the weary eyes of the nerve-racked TCU faithful, it's Air Force coming to town. You'll remember that the Falcons' two wins against the Frogs last year damaged TCU's RPI so much that hosting a regional was in serious jeopardy. Seems so innocent looking back, though, doesn't it? The 2010 Frogs were able to rebound from those losses, were still able to host a regional and you know the rest of the story. This year, the "everyone has a few bad losses"-type of losses seem to have stacked up pretty quick.
This weekend won't quite be a recreation of last year's games against the Falcons if only because this 2011 Air Force team, under new head coach Major Mike Kazlausky is head & shoulders better than they were in 2010. They won 13 games all of last year, and have already won 11 this year. I realize that a record of 11-14 doesn't quite make them the Yankees, but bear with me:
-Through their first 25 games last year, Air Force had surrenderred 10+ runs in a game 14 times...and 20+ runs in a game twice. This year, they've given up 10+ runs just 4 times, and one of those was a win (against Washington).
-Their team ERA last year was a comical 11.31. This year it's less than half of that: 4.17. -They allowed opposing batters to hit .407 against them last year, and have reduced that figure to .317 in 2011.
The Falcons even have a couple of semi-impressive wins (vs. Creighton and Missouri State) on their resume, and actually just completed a four-game sweep of Portland. Portland's not that good, but hey, the Frogs have shown how hard a sweep can be to come by. Their RPI is #126 currently, which means they are not nearly the lowest-ranked team the Frogs will face in conference play this season.
Even with the drastic improvements, this is still not a team that should give the Frogs problems. Notice I used the word "should" though, because teams that shouldn't give TCU problems consistently have this year. You've got to feel good about winning any 3-game series with the Frogs' stellar starting rotation, but the inconstency at the plate and out of the bullpen have made it hard for them to earn the series sweeps that they desperately need.