Game Preview: Hawai’i at Aztecs

What: Football game
Who: Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at San Diego State Aztecs
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: SDCCU Stadium
TV: ESPNU
Line: SDSU -17.5

The Stakes
At first glance, this appears to be a meaningless play-out-the-string game before a meaningless lower-tier bowl game. Turns out, the full picture is even more depressing! With a likely overflow of bowl-eligible teams and the Mountain West possibly having seven eligible teams for its five (mostly lousy) bowl tie-ins, SDSU likely needs to win its eighth game to be sure of bring invited to a meaningless lower-tier bowl game. You’ve got to work for that trip to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, kids!

If they lose? The Aztecs might need a few things to break their way for the season to not end in ignominious fashion. In short: DEATH TO ALL 5-WIN TEAMS.

Also, maybe don’t lose.

The Opponent
Hawai’i started off the season 6-1 and has fallen on hard times since. Yikes, can’t imagine what that’s like. Last week, the ‘Bows edged UNLV to go Hawai’i Bowl-eligible and snap a four game losing streak that saw them fall by an average of 28 points. Which might explain why the scuffling Aztecs are favored by 17.5 — that and the fact the oddsmakers apparently haven’t watched SDSU play even once this season.

The ‘Bows inconsistency may have led them to bench a quarterback who has thrown 32 touchdowns this season, which is an amazing thing to type. Cole McDonald is a game-time decision to start after freshman Chevan Cordeiro came off the bench to lead Hawai’i’s comeback against the Rebels last week. Whoever starts will surely be heaving it the direction of John Ursua, who has caught 85 passes for 1,309 yards and 16 TDs — basically the cumulative stats for all SDSU wide receivers in the Rocky Long era.

Hawai’i’s defense has given up more than 200 yards rushing in five consecutive games. Theoretically, this would seem to give a team with a good running game an advantage. Do you know of one?

History
San Diego State leads the all-time series 21-9-2, including six wins in a row since the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa football progam joined the Mountain West in 2012. That’s not as interesting as the fact that these teams first played in 1939, with the ‘Bows traveling to the mainland on a damn steamship.

willie

Toot toot!

Other Factors
SDSU has lost three of four and the students are away on Thanksgiving break (not that they’d be coming anyhow), meaning if you’re going to the Tombstone on Saturday night you will get to experience a your very own college football game. How exclusive! Also, the temperature should dip down into the 50s, which won’t affect the game at all; I’m mostly just writing this to remind myself to bring a coat this time, which my dumb Californian ass didn’t do last game.

Film Study
Did you know it’s possible to beat unstoppable football juggernaut UNLV? It’s true, and the ‘Bows (barely) accomplished this unbelievable feat last week. Proof:

STAFF PREDICTIONS

AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
Let’s not think about the 10-win season streak ending. Let’s not think about the sub-15k butts in seats that will be at STADIUM tomorrow. Let’s definitely not think about how our fourth-quarter “hurry up offense” managed to get two plays off in three minutes last week. Instead, let’s think about … I don’t know, the new Lion King trailer? It was pretty cool.
Aztecs 20, Hawaii 17

Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
Can’t in good conscience pick Hawai’i until they bring back the WAC threads.
Aztecs 25, Hawai’i 17

Aztecs Killing Him @akh_blog
We goin’ Tater Bowl, bitches!
Aztecs 30, Hawai’i 28

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
Feel the excitement of the storied cross-Pacific rivalry, the Colonialism Bowl. The football Aztecs are somehow favored -17.5 on the strength of losing 3 of their last 4 and not beating any FBS opponent by more than a touchdown. SDSU pulls out a win on Senior Night and the ghost of King Kamehameha grumbles about UH’s uniforms.
Aztecs 24, Hawai’i 14

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Author: Aztecs Killing Him

Former proprietor of AztecsKillingHim dot com, a long-dead SDSU sports blog that was possibly dumber even than this one. On Twitter at @akh_blog.

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