At a Loss

Colorado fumbles the ball.

5. What takes the Zoom out? Air Force is flying no higher than the state's other major college teams, what with a 4-5 record, a pair of hard ones left against San Diego State and Colorado State and the prospect of its first losing season in eleven years. Still, leave it to the inventive Falcons to try to figure out what befalls them almost every autumn: a mysterious case of late-season fatigue. In 2002 and 2003, the Zoomies started 6-0 and 5-0, respectively, before collapsing, and this year's 3-3 start preceded an 0-2 swoon; now scientists on campus in Colorado Springs are taking reports on players' muscle soreness, sleep habits, appetite and the like in the hopes of keeping the team fitter. Coach Fisher DeBerry is monitoring the results with great interest. It's well established that Air Force Cadets face more grueling academic and physical demands than students at most schools, and that may be why the football team gets tuckered out come late October. But there may be a simpler explanation. Because of high admission standards, all of the service academies tend to enroll smaller, lighter athletes than, say, Florida State or Auburn. They're brave, but they always get their lumps.

Sam Turner

6. Dig it. They say the cafeteria has some of the worst food in the nation, and campus social life consists of trading jokes in the library about molybdenum ore deposition. But the Colorado School of Mines, which plays its home games at cozy Brooks Field in downtown Golden, has one hell of a football team this season. In his fifth year as head coach, Bob Stitt has seen his Orediggers go undefeated at 11-0, average almost forty points per game and grab the number-eight spot in the national Division II football rankings while winning their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship since 1958. Quarterback Chad Friehauf engineers every play from a shotgun set, employing a complex, wide-open offense that baffles opponents and can prove a mental challenge even for his fellow Orediggers -- ultra-smart engineering students. Go, Diggers!

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