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Make or Break: San Diego State Football

Most important games for the Aztecs in 2018

Braden Surprenant
June 14, 2018 - 2:34 pm

Earlier this week, ESPN put together a list of the most important game for each of their Top 25 program for the upcoming 2018 football season. Since they do not have San Diego State ranked in their Top 25, we decided to highlight the most important games the Aztecs have that will make or break their season. If you want to check out the rest of the Top 25 click here.

August 31 at Stanford

To say this is an important game for San Diego State this season is an incredible understatement. If it was not for last year’s 20-17 victory over the Cardinal, this would probably one of the biggest games in program history, if it is not already. Under the lights on the road, against a Stanford team that will likely be ranked to start the season, on national television. That is as big as it gets, not to mention Stanford is looking for revenge from last year and, oh by the way, the Cardinal’s Heisman Trophy hopeful, Bryce Love, is back for one more season. Yes, this is an important game. Besides the obvious reasons stated above this game is the most important when it comes to the Aztecs postseason. If San Diego State wants to be considered for a highly coveted, “New Year’s Six Bowl,” they are going to have to get a victory against a program like Stanford, and most likely later go undefeated. A loss in Palo Alto to start the year will almost certainly crush any New Year’s party the Aztecs have planned for later in the year. A win however sets the Aztecs up perfectly for a chance at the biggest bowl game the program has arguably ever played in, as long as they get passed the next two tests.

October 6 at Boise State

Ever since Boise State and San Diego State teamed up to leave the Mountain West to move to the Big East, before their plans fell through, they have formed a pretty formidable rivalry. It does not hurt that the Broncos and Aztecs have also both been the class of the Mountain West for the last couple years. Since joining the Mountain West in 2011 Boise State bodes a 3-2 record against the Aztecs, which includes last year’s 31-14 beat down of SDSU in Mission Valley. An early conference road win for the Aztecs would be great in terms of revenge, but more importantly a must win, if SDSU wants to host the Mountain West Championship game again come December. In order to win the Mountain West, the Aztecs will most likely have to play Boise State twice, might as well do it the second time in San Diego. December in Boise vs December in San Diego, where would you rather be?

November 17 at Fresno State

Another team that has been a headache for the Aztecs is long time rival Fresno State. The Oil Can has spent a few more times in Fresno than San Diego since the turn of the century, (although the Oil Can wasn’t adopted until 2011) with the Bulldogs winning five out of the last eight meetings, including last year by a score of 27-3. San Diego State does however lead the overall series 29-24-4. Fresno is not expected to be as good as they were last season due to a lot of turnover with seniors graduating, however, with the state of the West Division the Bulldogs are the Aztecs only real competition. This is the last test for the Aztecs in the season and most likely their last ticket into the Mountain West Championship game as the representative of the West Division.

Aztecs Ceiling: 13-0

The Mountain West is not all that difficult to get through, and San Diego State has proven it can cruise through conference play. With Stanford and Arizona State on the schedule in non-conference play, makes this record a challenge, yet achievable. The Aztecs have a young but talented offensive line, a polished quarterback, and a great running back in Juwan Washington. The schedule is difficult but not impossible.

Aztecs Cellar: 7-5

This would be a very disappointing season for SDSU and a step in the wrong direction. Yes, it is bowl eligible, but the Aztecs have surpassed the expectations of JUST making it to a bowl game. A tough road schedule could chalk up losses against Stanford, Boise, and Fresno. Playing against Pac-12 member Arizona State could also be a challenge. Eastern Michigan is a wildcard game in a sense of not knowing what you are going to get out of a middle of the road MAC team.

Realistic Finish: 10-2

In reality San Diego State will most likely finish with this record, with their two losses most likely coming from Stanford and then either Boise State or Fresno State. Besides that, the Aztecs should have no problem with their schedule at home, which is seven games this season, and the rest of conference play should be a breeze, unless they are bit with a serious injury bug. Look for SDSU to be in the Mountain West Championship game, then playing in either the Las Vegas or Hawai’i Bowl for the postseason.

For more on San Diego State Football Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello talked with Head Coach Rocky Long. Click here to listen to their interview.