Pokes, Falcons need a traveling trophy. What should that be?
LARAMIE -- I've been posing the question since late July.
Wyoming and Air Force need a traveling trophy -- what should that be?
Believe it or not, I am coming up short on ideas. Like, non-existent short. I have even asked players and coaches from both schools. They all agree it would be awesome to play for some hardware. Also, they are all stumped at what that should entail.
Wyoming already plays for the Bronze Boot (Colorado State), Bridger's Rifle (Utah State) and the Paniolo Trophy (Hawaii).
The Falcons, well, they play for the coveted Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. That goes to the winner between Army, Navy and Air Force. The team from Colorado Springs also plays for the Ram-Falcon trophy with in-state rival, CSU.
This football series is 28-26 all-time in favor of Air Force. Wyoming has never won this game four years in a row. The Falcons have won it five times in a row just once.
If the Cowboys can take care of business down south this Saturday, that will be four straight wins over Air Force. This Wyoming senior class also has a chance to make history. If the Pokes top the Falcons, they will become the first group in program history to sweep both CSU and Air Force during their careers.
This clash has also had its fair share of close games, crazy moments and championship-clinching contests.
In 1988, Randy Welniak orchestrated an unheard of comeback in Colorado Springs. The Pokes trailed by 21 entering the fourth quarter. The final play of the game was a Sean Fleming field goal splitting the uprights and giving the Cowboys a 48-45 victory. Wyoming would go on to win the Western Athletic Conference and play Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl.
In 1998, Air Force repaid the favor at War Memorial Stadium outlasting the Cowboys 10-7 to win a conference title. Two years prior, Wyoming topped the visiting Falcons 22-19 to hand Fisher DeBerry and the Falcons their first conference loss and keep them in the Pokes rear-view mirror the rest of the season.
Then, there was the infamous 2012 meeting. Air Force won by a point, but who remembers that? After the final whistle, Dave Christensen launched into a profanity laden tirade directed at Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun.
Mention the name "Howdy Doody." Both sides of this rivalry should know exactly what you are talking about.
So, let's get back to this trophy idea.
What are things Wyoming and Air Force have in common? The first thing that comes to mind for me is altitude.
Laramie sits at 7,220 feet above sea level. That's the highest Division-I program in the country. Colorado Springs comes in at No. 2 at 6,621 feet.
The Golden Oxygen Mask?
The military, obviously, is another common theme. Cheyenne is home to F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
A C-130 propeller?
Tourism is a main economy driver for both states.
How about a silver suitcase with Wyoming and Colorado stickers on it?
Laramie and Colorado Springs are nearly 200 miles apart.
Maybe some kind of Front Range themed trophy?
See what I mean? I'm not doing so hot on ideas.
Here's what a few players and coaches had to say about the opportunity to play this game for a trophy and what that hardware should be:
Bart Miller, Wyoming's offensive line coach: "We'll have to think about that one. Something certainly worthwhile. Maybe we'll ask the guys in the room?"
Logan Harris, Wyoming offensive guard: "Maybe something to do with elevation or a mountain range trophy. It's always a really tough-nose game. It's old school, hand in the dirt and go."
Keegan Cryder, Wyoming center: "That would be interesting. That's a really good question. I always think it's funny when you go down there and you're playing in high elevation. They have the warning signs posted everywhere. Yeah, I don't know what you guys are worried about, acting so high and mighty."
Logan Wilson, Wyoming linebacker: "I'll have to think about that one. I'll get back to you."
Javaree Jackson, Wyoming defensive tackle: "That's a tough one. I think it's big enough to have a trophy, too. A lot of our fans hate Air Force, not just the players. I think it deserves a trophy."
Jeremy Fejedelem, Air Force defensive back: "A trophy? That would be cool. It's always fun to have something on the line. You could have a cowboy on a horse, fighting a falcon, with mountains in the background. Trophy games are always fun. I'd be down for that."
Kade Waguespack, Air Force tight end: "How about a horse with a falcon head? I'm kidding. Maybe a methodical creature. It would be fun. There's no harm in putting a trophy to the game, a little something else for the players to look forward to."
See what I mean about ideas? Yikes.
I want to hear your thoughts. And, no, a Howdy Doody doll probably won't cut it. Let's be serious. Who knows, maybe one of your ideas might stick? How cool would that be?
Email me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to see a sketch of what you're thinking, too. It doesn't need to be pretty either. I'm hoping you can be more creative than that thing Air Force and CSU play for.
Let's have some fun with this.