You’ve argued about the media day poll. You’ve studied all of Bill Connelly’s meticulous team previews, including the ones for schools you weren’t even aware even had D-I programs. You’ve even sifted past the survivalist and low rider periodicals at CVS to find copies of those obsolete preseason magazines that go to press far too early to be relevant.
But have you been edified by the predictions of four random guys you sort of know from SDSU Twitter? You have not.
The Kabeer Thirty staff predictions are here. Before you peruse these, take a look at our stupid predictions for the 2017 season. This should give you an idea of how much credence to give what’s on the other side of the jump. Hint: NOT AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF CREDENCE.
Record: 10-4 (7-1 Mountain West Conference)
First place MWC West Division
Postseason: Loss to Boise State in MWC Championship, win over Tulsa in Hawaii Bowl
Highest ranking: Nope.
Final ranking: Probably receiving votes but nah.
San Diego State football has reached the point at which Steve Fisher would say “We’re no longer just a team, we’re a program.” (He would then lick his lips in a ponderous but slightly uncomfortable manner) Aztec fans are right to expect SDSU to be competitive in:
- the hunt for the Mountain West title, and
- every game on the schedule, even against Power 5 teams.
Why shouldn’t fans expect it? The Aztecs have a three-game winning streak against the Pac-12 and have won two of the last three MWC titles.
But being competitive doesn’t mean you win every game. Most SDSU fans would admit that if The Blackout Game™ from last year against Stanford was played 10 times, the Cardinal probably walk away with at least six wins. I think the universe regresses to the mean in Palo Alto this Friday and SDSU starts the season 0-1. SDSU will win comfortably in the home opener against Sac State, but in the ASU rematch (this is where AztecMesa turns on me) I think the Aztecs take an L. The Sun Devils stole SDSU’s defensive coordinator, a guy who knows their schemes inside and out. The 3-3-5 is normally at least enough to stress out the opposing coaching staff (unless you’re fucking Army), but there is no such luxury against ASU.
Sure, I picked SDSU to lose to ASU and Stanford last year, too. I am very stupid and usually wrong. So who knows!?
The Aztecs will roll through the MWC slate, save the only two games against teams with a pulse. I say they’ll win one of the two road games against Boise or Fresno, good enough for the West title. Then SDSU will lose at Boise in the MWC Championship and get shipped off to Hawaii for its 10th win.
Sound disappointing? NOPE. That’s four straight years of 10 wins or more. THAT’S FUCKING AMAZING. THIS PROGRAM COULD HAVE BEEN STRAIGHT UP KILLED LESS THAN A DECADE AGO. I will wear my MWC West Champions and Hawaii Bowl Champions shirts with, uh, you know:
They finally open up the playbook for QB Christian Chapman in his bowl game swan song and let the man cook. By that I mean he gets to throw the ball 16 times, completing 12 passes, 7 of which are to a fullback, racking up 165 yards in the air and 2 TDs. Postgame Rocky: “Really happy to have such a fantastic player to go out on top like that. Gotta say I was a little uncomfortable playing this piddly spread formation junk, though.”
Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
Record: 11-3, 6-2 Mountain West Conference, First Place MWC West Division
Postseason: Win over Boise State in Mountain West Championship, win over Cal in Las Vegas Bowl. I hope it’s Cal. I want to see pictures of Oski doing Vegas.
Highest ranking: 16
Final ranking: 19
The Aztecs are returning a number of starters all over the field, and I like to be optimistic about the Aztecs to counter the depths of hell that is being a Padres fan. There’s a fair chance the lot of us could be wearing egg on our faces, but I’m surely not the only person just assuming Juwan Washington is going to step right in and fill the void of Rashaad Penny, who filled the void left by DJ Pumphrey, who filled the void left by Adam Muema, who filled the void left by Ronnie Hillman. *exhales* It’s been nearly a decade since the last time the Aztecs had a pedestrian running attack, and the talent on O-line with another year of experience under their belts leaves me feeling that this is not the year this streak ends.
As always, my concern is with the Aztecs’ pass defense. It’s like playing away at Wyoming: I’m going to blindly assume this is an issue until I see that it isn’t. In reality, despite the losses of Trey Lomax and Kameron Kelly, I believe the secondary is in good shape going into the season. With a healthy pass rush, I see the team turning around that embarrassing 28th-ranked pass defense in 2017 and return to the glory days of the 27th-ranked pass defense in 2016. Run defense will be excellent, because it’s a Rocky Long defense. That’s what they do, suffocate the run.
Also, this is an important point — it’s a Rocky Long defense. I’d normally be concerned with the loss of a coordinator in most situations, but Long’s the constant. And that’s not a slight on Danny Gonzales (who I imagine will be just fine at ASU), just speaking to continuity.
The Aztecs are down 2 with 8 seconds left on the clock at Stanford and Lord Baron of Kicksteros lines up for the game-winning field goal. Stanford tries to ice him, that stupid tree dances around trying to distract him (this moment completely falls apart if the Christmas tree from an elementary school play doesn’t appear at football games), but the steely veteran is unpurturbed, the field mic picking up his mighty scream of “FUCK YOU, TREE!” as he splits the uprights.
Oh, and whatever their dumb loss is this year. There’s always a dumb loss. Let’s go with San José State. Why not?
Editor’s note: Because San José State, that’s why not.
Record: 9-5 overall, 6-2 Mountain West Conference, first place MWC West Division
Postseason: Loss to Boise State in MWC Championship, loss to Iowa State in Cheez-It Bowl. Never square off against Midwesterners is a battle over corn-based cheese snacks.
Highest ranking: Receiving votes heading into the title game.
Final ranking: Ever? Boy, I hope not.
This is probably the toughest Aztecs schedule I can remember since the days when Ted Tollner’s teams would start each season with road games at, like, Arizona, Wisconsin and the ESU Timberwolves. The three toughest games of the year are all on the road, and I have a hard time seeing SDSU winning more than one of them. But I think they do win one of them. I could, however, see the Aztecs stubbing their toe in a place like Reno. Been a while since we’ve had one of those in conference, and I’ve got a bad feeling in my achy knee.
Ultimately I see the offense taking a modest step back and the defense taking a modest step forward. With an experienced offensive line the Aztecs will be bullies in the trenches, but you just don’t lose a first-round running back and get better. That should be offset by a veteran defense that puts more pressure on the quarterback and forces more turnovers. Overall, this has the chance to be a marginally better team than last year’s … while still losing one or two more games. College football is weird like that.
That said, SDSU will move its streak of playing a part in the firing of a Pac-12 coach to three seasons. Sorry, #AztecForLife Herm.
The scene? Fresno, Calif. The epic game will be played amid an ethereal glow — perhaps caused by Tule fog or a smoldering fire at the tire recycling yard — and the dulcet tones of CBS Sports Network’s Aaron Taylor will provide the soundtrack. With a chip on its collective shoulder after last season, Rocky’s defense will make Jeff Tedford’s offense suffer. The Aztecs will down the Dogs by two scores. Ye Old Oil Canne — and the West title — will return to San Diego.
Record: 10-3, 6-2 Mountain West Conference, second place MWC West Division
Postseason: Win over North Texas in New Mexico Bowl
Highest ranking: none
Final ranking: none
This downbeat prediction is based on a reverse Gambler’s Fallacy crossed with San Diegan pessimism. SDSU football has been on such a historically good run that another 11-win season with a Mountain West championship at the end just seems too good to happen. Juwan Washington is good but is he Penny/Pumphrey good? Probably not. Chapman is … Chapman.
I’m guessing losses at Stanford, at Boise and at Fresno, who absolutely destroyed the Aztecs at the Tombstone last year. SDSU places second in the West and gets a trash bowl bid versus East Jesus nobody.
SDSU gives Fresno State a battle in November but loses a heartbreaker on a late punt return TD, giving the Bulldogs the division tiebreaker.