COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- Craig Bohl calls this matchup a rivalry.

Troy Calhoun ... doesn't.

Growing up in Wyoming, most of the vitriol was saved for Colorado State and BYU. It still is. However, it was hard to deny that there was a certain feeling unlike any other when the Cowboys would take on the Falcons.

There always seemed to be more on the line.

I'll never forget the parade of cars on the summit on Interstate-80 before the 1996 meeting. Traffic jams around here are always memorable. I still recall nervously asking my mom if we were going to make it in time for kickoff. We did. Cory Wedel sent the locals home happy with a last-second 19-yard field goal to lift the Pokes to a 22-19 win.

Wyoming went on to play in the inaugural WAC title game in Las Vegas.

The following year in Colorado Springs brought some serious heartbreak.

Trailing 7-3 and setting up shop at the Falcons' 11-yard line late in regulation, UW quarterback Jay Stoner threw a corner route toward the end zone. Air Force defensive back Frank Staine-Pyne stepped in front of that pass and took it 93 yards down the sideline to give the Falcons a 14-3 win.

My feet froze to the bleachers that afternoon. My blood pressure, well, that was a different story.

 

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If you think that one was a punch to the gut, the season finale in 1998 magnified that feeling ten fold.

Both teams were ranked in the Top 25. A Pacific Division title and a trip to the WAC Championship was on the line. That day in Laramie was supposed to be a special one. Instead, Fisher DeBerry's defense stymied the Pokes all day long, holding them to just a field goal.

With the Cowboys driving late, Stoner, a Colorado Spring native, stumbled on a fourth-down drop back and the dream was over. Air Force escaped 14-3 and went on to beat BYU to claim a conference title.

The Falcons also knocked off Washington in the Oahu Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the nation.

Seriously, the list goes on. You can read some other big matchups right HERE.

No, this series doesn't feature a traveling trophy (there should be). It's not the first game to roll off the lips of even the most casual Cowboys fan. But make no mistake, this is a rivalry. The proof litters the history books.

This Saturday in Colorado Springs could be another one for the ages. An unbeaten Wyoming team on the road facing the nation's most potent rushing attack. A loss for the Falcons would be devastating to their hopes of claiming a division crown. The Cowboys would essentially hold a two-game lead in the standings over Calhoun's cadets.

For Wyoming, a team that has big aspirations this fall, this is a major hurdle in its quest for the program's first outright conference championship since 1988.

That's the same season Randy Welniak and his Holiday Bowl bound team erased a 21-point fourth quarter deficit at the academy.

Please, tell me again why this wouldn't be considered a rivalry?

 

Here is all you need to know -- and the links -- for Saturday's tilt in The Springs:

WHO: Wyoming (4-0, 0-0) at Air Force (4-1, 1-1)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5:00 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 75, low of 40, partly cloudy, winds at 16 mph
WHERE: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, Colorado
TRAVEL: COTrip
TVCBS Sports Network (Channel 221 on DirecTV, 158 on Dish, stream on Hulu, Fubo and YouTube TV)
RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network
STREAMING: CBS Sports Network
TICKETS: UW Ticket Central
BOX SCORE: ESPN
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Air Force
BETMGM ODDS: Air Force (-6), O/U 46 (Could be subject to change)
HISTORY: Air Force leads the all-time series 29-26-3
HEAD COACHES: Craig Bohl / Troy Calhoun

Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium

Did you know it would take the populations of Gillette (32,857), Laramie (32,381), Rock Springs (23,319), Sheridan (17,844) and Wright (1,200) to create a sellout inside Michigan's famed 107,601-seat Big House, the largest college football stadium in the nation?

For those of you not familiar with the Cowboy State, those are Wyoming's third through sixth most inhabited cities, along with the small mining town in Campbell County.

- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium