Two years ago I spent most of the final drive of the Cal game lying face down on the floor of my brother-in-law’s living room in Texas, trying hard not to emanate any scream or exultation or stream of expletives that might stir — or permanently scar — my niece and nephew sleeping nearby.
Last year, I spent the final three minutes of the Stanford game gripping the railing of the STADIUM Press Level so tightly I’m surprised the decaying aluminum didn’t snap off in my hand.
College football wants us all dead, and it’s coming for us once again.
With the San Diego State season less than a month away, I’ve done the crucial task of ranking the 2018 regular season games based on how stressful I expect them to be.
12. Eastern Michigan, Sept. 22
There’s really nothing at stake in this game save for dignity and self respect, and what even are those things anyway?
Fun fact: San Diego State hasn’t won a conference title in the past 30 years without suffering a humiliating nonconference loss to a low-profile Group of Five School. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced losing this game is a prerequisite for the Aztecs winning the MWC this year. That is definitely how things work and you should definitely keep reading this post.
11. Sacramento State, Sept. 8
I might eat these words later, but this program has advanced beyond the point where I worry about the Aztecs beefing it against an FCS team before a big SkyShow crowd. My biggest fear now is inevitably writing a post about SDSU’s new balanced offense after Christian Chapman throws for, like, 278 yards against the Hornets. I’ll then look dumb when Chap goes 4-of-6 for 32 yards the following week against Arizona State.
Please remind me not to do that.
Editor’s note: If SDSU loses to Sac State I will literally print these two paragraphs and eat them.
10. Hawai’i, Nov. 24
Aztecs home games the last weekend of the year are always the worst. You’re either going to get a freak 115 degree afternoon game or a cold, rainy night that soaks you to your very core. Either way, the last home game is on Thanksgiving weekend so there will be zero students and about 15,000 Barrys in attendance.
And this year’s last-game opponent, the UH Rainbows? Get lit for a team SDSU has beaten by a combined score of 83-7 the last two years! Unless a conference title hangs in the balance this game’s going to be memory-holed about 30 minutes after it ends. Good seats still available!
9. San José State, Oct. 20
What happens when the pomp and spectacle of homecoming coincides with the EL CAMINO REAL RIVALRY??
A huge blowout, probably. SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, college foobaw’s answer to Nate Silver, pegs the Spartans at the 129th best team in country, and gives the Aztecs a 92 percent chance of winning this game. I give you a 92 percent chance of missing four Juwan Washington touchdowns because you’re vomiting up Kirkland vodka in a parking lot porta-John.
It’s OK. It’s happened to the best of us. Just get it all out.
Editor’s note: This has not happened to me. Though I did once dump an entire postgame beer on my head while skateboarding in the stadium parking lot.
8. UNLV, Nov. 10
Do me a favor: Please copy all the shade I just threw at Hawai’i and San José State and paste it in this space. I’m starting to think the bottom half of this conference is kinda bad, you guys!
7. at Nevada, Oct. 27
This game might actually be interesting. Ty Gangi — whose name sounds like what a boomer from Chicago orders at a weed dispensary — smoked the Aztecs secondary last year. The Wolve Pæck can air it out, and if they put up some early points and force SDSU to play catch-up on the road, things could get weird.
I’m not nervous. But I’m not not nervous.
6. Air Force, Oct. 12
On one hand, it doesn’t look like Air Force is going to be incredibly good this year. On the other, the Aztecs’ Armed Forces Bowl loss to Army has me wondering if Rocky Long’s mastery of triple option service academies might be on the wane. This game kicks off at 6 p.m. on a Friday so it’s not like many live persons will be there to see it either way.
5. at Stanford, Aug. 31
Behold, my first HOT SPORTS TAKE of the 2018 football season: I’m really not worried about this one at all. This game is being played with house money, friends. Stanford is at home, ranked No. 13 in the Coaches Poll, returns super-intelligent cyborg Bryce Love and is probably really, really irritated about last season’s loss to the Aztecs. I have a hard time seeing the Cardinal losing.
Don’t get me wrong, if the Aztecs pull off the upset, I will go torch a couch with you at the corner of Montezuma and Campanile. But I’m not going to get too bummed out by an SDSU loss.
4. at New Mexico, Nov. 3
Wait, no don’t leave! I can explain! This is SDSU’s last game before the November 6 election to determine the fate of Mission Valley. If the Aztecs lose to the Lobos, Landon Donovan will tweet the following:
Honestly, he’d kind of have a point. I’d have to reconsider my vote and possibly purchase a scarf.
3. Arizona State, Sept. 15
SDSU is probably going to be favored against a Power Five team, and deservedly so. The Aztecs — who whipped Arizona State last year in Tempe — get the Sun Devils at home in front of a big crowd. ASU, meanwhile, is coming off an offseason in which it basically replaced its moderately successful coach with a random talking head off of TV. I mean, can you imagine if we ran our country that way?
But! The expectations, man. Expectations make me uneasy. So does this.
2. at Boise State, Oct. 6
Boise State is always a game you circle in red, but I kind of get that house money vibe again here. A win on the blueberry otter pop turf would be monumental but SDSU can still win its division and secure a title game rematch even with a loss. The worst part would be dealing with Boise fan smugness, which would be … well … considerable.
1. at Fresno State, Nov. 17
Did you watch the Mountain West Conference championship game last season? I did, and witnessing Boise State host BLASPHEMOUS USURPER Fresno State was just the worst. Fresno State should never be allowed to hoist the Oil Can, let alone the West Division title. This game will probably determine both.
Oh god oh god oh god. I’m already face down on the floor just thinking about it.
Editor’s note: He’s literally face down on the floor thinking about it.