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Air Force Flies Alone

The Falcons may play as an independent in 2015.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Remember that time that the ECAC disintegrated into nothingness after the 2014 season when Michigan and Ohio State departed for the Big Ten, Bellarmine skedaddled to the Southern Conference, and Fairfield oiled up its nail gun to battle to the death in THUNDERDOME!? Do you remember that? Well, that's still a thing.

As Corey McLaughlin writes, the Falcons are likely staring at a life as a ronin in 2015, wandering the landscape as an independent mercenary with no master:

When the merry-go-round of conference realignment, which has impacted lacrosse the most over the last two years, finally stopped for the time being, Air Force found itself the only NCAA Division I men's lacrosse program without a league home heading into the 2015 season.

It's likely to stay that way, head coach Eric Seremet said Tuesday, with the Falcons, fresh off their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1988, looking like they will play as the nation's lone independent.

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"I'm confident in our ability to compete in many conferences," Seremet said Tuesday, while hosting the U.S. men's national team for practice at Air Force's indoor fieldhouse in Colorado Springs ahead of the FIL World Championship, which begins Thursday in Denver. "I'd be most enthusiastic about the Southern Conference. The size of our school, the academic quality of our schools, I think those would be good fits. I'd probably be pretty enthusiastic about the Patriot League, and pretty enthusiastic about the Big East."

Seremet said Air Force's 2015 schedule has every Southern Conference team on it besides High Point and Richmond, and was hopeful the matter could be discussed more within that league at meetings in the fall.

Any membership for Air Force would be an affiliate membership, which Seremet said he's not sure the Patriot League or Big East would be willing to welcome. A Patriot League landing spot would give that league 10 teams, and perhaps create a need for two five-team divisions, he said, but it would also put Air Force in a league with natural rivals Army and Navy.

Air Force remains in a tough spot: The Falcons have to be attractive to a number of leagues -- Air Force has finished around the top half of the nation in LaxPower's ratings the last three seasons -- but the Falcons' location as a relative outpost in Division I lacrosse makes Air Force's conference affiliation difficult to foresee. Traveling to and from Colorado every other year requires a piggy bank with some rattle, and that's probably driving some of this process.

Best guess? I think the Falcons end up in the Southern Conference. Air Force seemed open to joining the league last June when the ECAC started to crack, and the Falcons could give the young league a little giddy-up.