San Diego State beat Air Force 21-17 on a dark and stormy Friday — Friday! — night at the Tombstone. It was a sloppy, sketchy win with a really long pause in the middle of it. Those of us who stayed through the extended lightning delay were then treated to longer commercial breaks punctuated by occasional live football action. Whatever TV audience remained may have been in the tens of thousands, added to the scattered hundreds of diehards and fools left in the stadium.
I’ll give it this much: This is a game past Aztecs teams probably lose. They made enough plays to scratch out Rocky Long’s 69th win as SDSU head coach. No matter how awkward it felt, that’s pretty nice.
What: Football game Who: Air Force Falcons at San Diego State Aztecs When: 6 p.m. Friday, otherwise known at traffic o’clock Where: SDCCU Stadium TV: CBS Sports Network Line: SDSU -10.5
Right now, Aztecs fans are flashing Blue Steel after a win on the Smurf Turf. We sit in our cubicles and dream of tables being run, UCF being upset and the Aztecs crashing the New Year’s 6 party. A loss to Air Force ruins all that. A win allows us to maintain the delusion for another week. Please let us keep it. It’s a good delusion!
But frankly, these are just the subplots. A historic achievement is on the line, friends.
MILESTONE UPDATE: with a win next week against Eastern Michigan, Rocky Long’s winning percentage at SDSU will move to 69 percent. He is three wins shy of 69 wins. Three straight wins would put his winning percentage at .696969696969696969696969696969696969696969696969696969696969
Here’s the thing about Boise: if you’ve read about how it’s been the fastest growing city in the US for three years running, and tons of big companies are moving there, bringing an influx of money and youth, and it’s a low-key progressive city in a historically hyper-conservative region and they have a great downtown bar scene with a ton of great breweries, well, to be honest, there’s good chance you could be a bit underwhelmed.
BUT… if you were unaware of all the above narratives and your only knowledge of the city is that it’s the capital of Idaho and there’s a big, blue football field… well then holy shit what a fun surprise this city is pretty cool!
Last Friday, a few of my friends and I met in beautiful, luxurious San Diego Airport Terminal 1 for a trip up to The City Of Trees. Fun geography fact: Boise is essentially straight north of San Diego! Just a 0.9587 Longitude difference! I find that interesting and I demand you do too. A two hour flight but a one hour timezone difference just to make things exotic.
It’s getting to the point where we need to remind ourselves not to become numb to this.
Less than two years ago, in the wake of the Aztecs’ 2016 Mountain West Conference Championship Game victory, I spent a week leading up to the bowl game running a silly bracket-style tournament of the best wins of the Rocky Long era (hooray, content!). Have a look at the eight games I chose. The winner of the tournament as selected by you, the fans, was — I shit you not — a regular season win over Nevada.
In the 22 months since, we’ve been thoroughly spoiled with the following:
A bowl victory over Group of Five darling Houston in which D.J. Pumphrey broke the NCAA rushing record.
A win on the road at Arizona State in Rashaad Penny’s national coming out party.
The Stanford blackout.
ANOTHER win over the Sun Devils, who were ranked this time.
What: Football game Who: San Diego State Aztecs at Boise State Broncos
When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Albertsons Stadium TV: ESPNU Line: Boise State -14
SDSU’s conference opener against its most prominent rival. A loss to nearly-ranked Boise doesn’t necessarily doom the Aztecs’ conference title hopes but probably does extinguish any chance they have of getting ranked this year.
Boise State, jewel of Southwestern Idaho, the angry horse with a glass eye. Boise has only shared Mountain West space with SDSU since 2011. Prior to that they finished ranked high as 4th while bullying the WAC and winning two Fiesta Bowls. Then-coach Chris Petersen is now at Washington and the current Broncos are but a shadow of their golden age. Still, the program holds a level of national prestige.
The Boise State sports blog One Bronco Nation Under God is the absolute worst. I’ve long wanted to hate Boise fans with the kind of spiteful passion we once reserved for BYU fans. But OBNUG’s team of affable and good-humored bloggers and commenters have led me to conclude that a non-insignificant portion of the Broncos fanbase is actually … kind of OK?
As thoughtful people do, OBNUGgie Russ Wood reached out this week to do another Q&A exchange and blog bet where the winner get’s a free post on the loser’s blog. So, uh, you might want to check this space next week to see what Russ cooks up. In the meantime, he kindly answered our most pressing Boise State questions.
Rocky Long is many things to many people. Defensive mastermind. GTO-driving internet meme. Patron Saint of Ocean Beach philosophers. He is not, it turns out, a licensed medical doctor.
Long sounded reassuringly calm about star running back Juwan Washington’s injury after Saturday night’s win over Eastern Michigan, saying he didn’t think it was too serious despite the fact that Washington spent the second half with his arm in a sling. Last night, we learned that calming prognosis was overly optimistic.
In their third stress-inducing home victory in three weeks, the San Diego State football Aztecs came from behind to beat Eastern Michigan 23-20 in overtime. The EMU Eagles do not identify as emus, but much like the freakishly tall flightless bird, proved stubborn and hard to knock over nonetheless.
Despite running their record to 13-0-1 against the Mid-American Conference, it turns out the Aztecs don’t really want that MACtion.