The 2016 Las Vegas Bowl was an emotional game to watch as an Aztecs fan. It was a coronation of sorts — a convincing bowl victory against a hyped opponent — but it was more than that. It was also the day when Donnel Pumphrey broke the NCAA rushing mark. In the wake of the record breaking run, the ABC cameras captured a shot of D.J., on the bench, sharing a moment with super fan Tom Ables*.
*This shot is at 1:34:50 in this video if you’re in the mood for a cry.
Sitting on Lemonverbena’s couch that afternoon, I damn near lost it.
Just as I nearly have several times tonight, reading the obits and tributes marking the passing of Tom Ables at age 91.
With the Chargers gone and Mission Valley up for grabs, it seems everybody is suddenly *keenly* interested in San Diego State’s football attendance. Trouble is, that number has always been kind of tough to pin down. The official count is a tickets-distributed figure, and that often doesn’t jibe with the butts in seats. THE HATERZ on the other hand have it on good authority that literally zero people have ever attended an Aztecs football game. We’re here to find the truth, people.
October 14, 2017: SDSU vs. Boise State. The death of a dream season. Read the recap. Or don’t. No judgement.
I really want nothing more than to go to bed and sleep for about 17 hours, so I’ll do my best to keep this brief. The San Diego State football team carried a No. 19 ranking, Heisman hype and a Fiesta Bowl resume into Saturday night’s conference showdown with the objectively evil Boise State Broncos.
What: Boise State Broncos vs. No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs When: Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. TV: CBSSN Line: Aztecs -7
Focus, focus, FOCUS! It’s easy to look past this week’s opponent, with the Old Oil Can looming large next w-LOL, just kidding. Coming into the season, you likely had ASU, Stanford, Air Force, and Boise State pegged as San Diego State’s most foreboding opponents. So far, so good, so undefeated; just like you* expected!
While not the Boise State of old, the Boise State of present is still a good team. The Broncos are still widely considered to be the premier Group of Five program in the nation, a title San Diego State would love to take away. This one game won’t accomplish that, but winning head-to-head is a good way get the right kind of attention on the program. Boise State hasn’t won the Mountain West since 2014, which is incidentally the last time these two teams met (a 38-29 Broncos victory in Boise).
When I first started writing about the Aztecs in 2011, the Mountain West Conference blogosphere was a sad, dark place. One bright beacon in the wilderness was One Bronco Nation Under God, a group of pretty cool, funny dudes who probably all smell like criss-cut French fries in real life.
I had misgivings about this game from the start. San Diego State had traveled to a wounded but proud city to play a team inspired to honor its fallen friends and neighbors. A win here wasn’t going to feel good, no matter what.
Then the game started and my misgivings mounted. The Aztecs opened with a methodical drive that stalled at the 1 when Rashaad Penny stunningly fumbled a pitch. SDSU forced a three and out and promptly marched back down inside the 10 … only to settle for the field goal.
Total domination, and a 3 point lead.
That start was the college football version of picking up a hitchhiker on a lonely highway in a horror movie. You just knew by the end of the game, we were going to be staggering for shelter toward a creepy, half-collapsed barn and … oh no, no, NO … don’t go in there! This is baaaaaad!
And then the Aztecs beat UNLV 41-10.
I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about this team.
What: No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs vs. UNLV Rebels When: Saturday, October 7 at 7:45 p.m. TV: ESPN2 Line: Aztecs -9.5
What can you say?
We’re playing it straight this week. While we’re usually here to act like dipshits AND inform (yours truly leaning HEAVILY into the dipshit portion), what happened in Vegas this week requires we put on our adult pants and act right. So as much fun as we have going in on UNLV alum and human FryDaddy Guy Fieri, now is not the time.
Unless you only go for industry conventions or some such (LOL NERD), you go to Vegas to blow off whatever amount of steam you need to blow off. Tables, booze, naked folks, professional naked folks, conference tournaments, video games, “Backdoor beauty?”, the buffet at Westward Ho (RIP), a store just for M&Ms. Fifty eight people were murdered, almost 500 people were physically injured, and an untold number of victims will carry around mental scars for years because some maniac wanted to make them pay for having a good time. Or some other stupid reason. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Nothing will justify/explain it to a rational mind. Just know we love you, Las Vegas.