It sucks to lose.
It sucks to lose and blow a chance at an undefeated season.
It sucks to lose when the community appears to be finally getting excited about a team at a crucial point in the program’s history.
It sucks to lose to a rival after your team spent all week chirping about how this game was personal and clearly more important than any other opponent.
It really sucks when a universally-beloved super fan passes away and the last time he saw the scoreboard it showed his team on the short end of a 31-14 drubbing.
And it sucks we were denied the #PotatoTears we so long for.
But here we are. This week sucked. But the rest of the year is far from lost.
Plenty of fans Saturday night and Sunday morning were lamenting “Aw shit, back to the Las Vegas Bowl for us.”
First of all, Getting to the Las Vegas Bowl means the Aztecs have won the Mountain West for the third straight year. It means more than likely a chance to get three wins against the Pac 12 in the same season. This, in fact, would actually, in my opinion, be very, what is often referred to as: good.
That right there would be SDSU’s greatest season ever.
You: dejected, wrong – “Sure, but we can say goodbye to a New Year’s Six Bowl bid.”
Me: right, annoying – “#WellActually”
There are 62 teams in the Group of Five. One of them is guaranteed a New Year’s Six bowl. As it stands, SDSU is the third-most likely team to get that spot. The two teams above them? UCF and USF. Only one of those teams can win the AAC. And the bid is reserved exclusively for conference champions.
That means SDSU just needs to have a better resume than whoever comes out on top of that sparsely attended 2nd-rate tussle in Florida. (The winner, as is tradition in that rivalry, will receive a full DVD box set of COPS, most of which has been filmed in greater Tampa and Orlando areas.)
If either of those teams go undefeated, sure, they would have the inside track on the Aztecs. But if Stanford, Arizona State and Northern Illinois keep winning, SDSU will end up having one of the most impressive OOC records in not just the Group of Five, but the whole damn country. Meanwhile the winner of the AAC’s best win will likely be whoever they play in their conference title game. 12-1 SDSU vs 13-0 USF? We’ve got a shot.
Plus, what makes us think either of those teams will finish undefeated, anyway? Since the start of the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six games, there have been three Group of Five champions given that auto-bid. Last year’s Western Michigan is the only one to finish the pre-bowl season 13-0.
Houston in 2015, remember them? That ridiculously good team that won at Louisville and finished the year with four wins against ranked opponents including Florida State in the Peach Bowl? They lost to a trash UConn team. In week 11! And they STILL got the New Year’s Six bid.
2014 Boise State got to the Fiesta Bowl and won it despite TWO losses. (One of which was to Air Force, because Boise will always lose to Air Force for the rest of eternity.)
So not only has our dream of a New Year’s Six Bowl stayed alive, our odds haven’t really even taken that big of a hit compared to where we sat before the loss.
Look, the Aztecs have a long way to go. On Saturday, the young offensive line with no depth looked like a young offensive line with no depth. The Heisman candidate running back was a non-factor for the first three quarters. Our perfect, precious, infallible special teams gave up a punt return TD to a guy who FUCKING CALLED HIS SHOT MIDWEEK WHAT THE FUCK HOW DID THEY LET THAT HAPP…
What I’m saying is, SDSU still has a lot of work to do to earn that once-in-a-lifetime dream season.
But that dream is very much still alive.