A nightmarish November was not enough to keep the San Diego State football Aztecs from going bowling for a ninth straight season. SDSU has accepted an invitation to the Frisco Bowl, where it will square off with the Ohio University Bobcats at 5 p.m. Pacific on December 19.
This bowl bid really wasn’t on a lot of people’s radars, so you probably have some questions, such as “What is a Frisco Bowl?” and “Is this a good or bad thing?” and “There’s an Ohio University now?” Well let me, the Frisco Bowl understander, provide answers to your many ignorant queries.
Cool! So we’re going to San Francisco?
Oh lord no. In fact, the place the Aztecs are going is extremely not San Francisco. Frisco, Texas is a soulless suburban boomtown about half an hour north of Dallas. It’s got a mall and an IKEA and a 20,500-seat soccer stadium (Toyota Stadium, home of the former Dallas Burn) where this game will be played. Wait a minute … THE AZTECS ARE PLAYING IN SOCCER CITY YOU GUYS! Get ready to scarf up!
Is this a better or worse outcome than we were expecting?
Not better or worse, just … different. It’s certainly better than nothing, and SDSU didn’t deserve anything good after losing four of its last five games. All of the MWC’s non-Vegas Bowl tie-ins (the Arizona, Hawai’i, Potato, New Mexico bowls) featured either lousy locations or un-sexy Group of Five opponents or both. So this is kind of par for the course. I probably would have preferred the Arizona Bowl, since some Aztecs fans might have actually made the drive to Tucson. On the other hand that game is on CBS Sports Network while the Frisco Bowl is at least on ESPN, guaranteeing better exposure and fewer commercials for neti pots making you think twice about hitting that chipotle ranch dip.
Is the opponent any good
Actually, yes! Ohio University of Athens, Ohio has been one of the better teams in the Mid-American Conference for the past decade under former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats went 8-4 this year, winning 5 of their last 6 and scoring more than 49 points six times, including in a 51-17 thrashing of eventual conference champion Buffalo. They have three players with at least 800 yards rushing on more than six yards a carry, including QB Nathan Rourke who passed for 22 touchdowns and ran for 13 more. This is a legit game and Ohio probably deserves to be favored.
Will there be a big crowd at this game?
LOL no. Nobody’s gonna travel for this. The Aztecs have a fair number of Texans on the roster, so there will be a smattering of Red and Black friends and family packed in next to the band. Perhaps the delightful Baldwin clan will roll across the border from Arkansas ready to go HAM as well.
It’s the same deal for Ohio, which draws … well, look, it’s a MAC school. It draws like a MAC school. Hopefully the game organizers are already mailing stacks of tickets to all the Boys & Girls Clubs around the Metroplex as we speak.
What’s the biggest takeaway here?
The Aztecs, after beefing it over the past month-plus, will make their 9th-straight bowl appearance. SDSU gets nearly three full weeks of extra practices and a game on ESPN in a state where it does a lot of recruiting. It’s not a bad outcome, really.
Unless the Aztecs get their asses kicked. Then it would be a bad outcome.