Archive for July, 2022

2022 SDSU Football Preview

Posted: July 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

2021’s 12-2/7-1 will be difficult to beat in 2022, yet provides the reason to play. After two years on the road (Carson, CA is 113 miles away from SDSU. Carson was not a home game no matter how Carson was spun), the Aztecs return home. Home is now Snapdragon Stadium. Brand new Snapdragon Stadium with a ribbon on top.

2022 Aztec Offense

Quarterbacks: Braxton Burmeister (142/255 including 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions) starts the season. Granted, the Aztecs do not have the greatest record pertaining to transfer quarterbacks, yet I hold hope that our Virginia Tech transfer’s 2021 total of 1,960 yards provides a proven path to enhance last year’s Aztec qb production. However, if Mr. Burmeister stumbles, Will Haskell takes the snaps. Mr. Haskell took 7 snaps in 2022, thus the flag of experience does not apply. Mr. Haskell provides a level of athleticism never before seen in an Aztec qb.

Running Backs: Initially Chance Bell (341 yards and a 4.7 yards per rush in 2021), Jordan Byrd (246/6.6) and Jaylon Armstead (he wet his feet with 24 rushing attempts for a beginner’s 3.1 ypr) provided an above average crew of running backs. However, the arrival of USC transfer Kenan Christon (5.7 ypr during his two years in L.A.) vastly improves the Aztec offensive backfield. Anticipate the ever creative offensive coordinator, Jeff Hecklinski, to occasionally employ the quick feet of Cam Davis and Martin Blake especially as the season progresses.

Wide Receivers: The acrobatic Jesse Matthews (57 catches for 642 yards averaging 11.3 yards per catch) will be coupled with last year’s surprise development, Tyrell Shavers (18/213/11.8). T.J. Sullivan, Mekhi Shaw, Brionne Penny and Darius De Los Reyes rotate through the third receiver spot in search of extended playing time. This group should benefit from Mr. Burmeister’s ability to throw a football 40 yards downfield which was a rare, rare sight the last two seasons.

Tight Ends: The University of Washington transfer Mark Redman joins Jay Rudolph during two tight end sets. If these two catch the football, they become part of Mr. Burmeister’s options. If not, prepare to block, block, block.

Offensive Line: A tad thin. A couple of injuries could spell trouble. Left guard, Kyle Trombley, sustained an injury during spring practice. He is not due to return until midway through the season. The Oklahoma State transfer Cade Bennett moves into Mr. Trombley’s spot. Left tackle Jonathon Harrison brings limited experience. The strength of the line is center Alama Uluave. Right guard and tackle features Ross Ulugalu and the formidable Brandon Crenshaw-Dixon. My “a tad thin” is found in the five remaining offensive linemen waiting behind the above mentioned starters. Offensive line coach Mike Goff will have plenty of coaching to deliver during the month of August. A worst case basis is solved by the tight ends impersonating tackles.

2022 Aztec Defense

Defensive Line: A definite strength in 2022. Keshawn Banks (defensive end), Jonah Tavai (defensive tackle), his brother and Hawaii transfer Justus Tavai (dt), Nassir Sims (dt), Daniel Okpoko (de), Garrett Fountain (de) and Wyatt Draeger (de) provide experience and smarts. Tulsa transfer Deven Lamp (de) hopes to return from injury as the season begins.

Linebackers: While not as deep as the defensive line, the core group enjoys similar experience and smarts. Caden McDonald (49 tackles), Michael Shawcroft (55 tkls) and Seyddick Lakalaka (44 tkls) are the starting three. Washington transfer, Cooper McDonald (yep, brother of Caden) registered 26 tackles in 12 games in 2022. Plenty of room to grow as an Aztec. Vai Kaho and Brady Anderson will add to their games played experience this season.

The Back Five: Defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix is true to the spirit of Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 arrangement, thus my reluctance to label the defensive backfield with traditional positions. A combination of Noah Avinger (15 tkls), Dallas Branch (20 tkls), Noah Tumblin (32 tkls) and Dezjhon Malone will be the first faces viewed by opposing wide receivers. Waiting behind them will be Patrick McMorris (90 tkls) as the deep guy along with Cedarious Barfield (39 tkls) and CJ Baskerville (39 tkls). Davaughn Celestine, Kyron White and Isaiah McElvane will increase last year’s time on the field.

2022 Special Teams

Punter: Jack Browning needs to average 40 yards a boot.

Kicker: Jack Browning (does special teams coordinator Doug Deakin possess a budding Matt Araiza? Most likely, no) needs to convert 100% of his extra-point attempts and 3 of every 4 field goal attempts, and all will be well enough. If Mr. Browning struggles as kicker, anticipate David Delgado in his place.

2022 Aztec Schedule

Snapdragon opens with Arizona on September 3rd. Aztecs win

Snapdragon game two is Idaho State. Aztecs win.

The first road game is Utah. Aztecs first loss.

Return to Snapdragon against Toledo: Aztecs win.

Mountain West play begins at Boise: Aztecs win.

The first MW home game is against Hawaii: Aztecs win.

After an off week, SDSU travels to Nevada: Aztecs win.

At Fresno State follows. Aztecs lose.

UNLV rolls into town: Aztecs win.

San Jose State arrives. Aztecs win (as long as Nick Nash is kept under wraps).

Albuquerque in mid-November often features whack-a-doodle weather. Aztecs win.

The final MW game and home game of 2022 is Air Force. Aztecs win.

An appearance in the 2022 MWC championship is not guaranteed. A bowl game is guaranteed.

Go Aztecs.


Lots of change in the Mountain West as it enters the 2022 season. This season is the final year of the two division format before returning to a single division, aka, the way things used to be. Next, new head coaches at Colorado State, Fresno State (sort of) Hawaii and Nevada. Finally, stadium construction continues at San Jose State, begins in Hawaii and concludes at San Diego State.

Mountain (for the final season. At this point you should be teary eyed).

Utah State

Offense: Logan Bonner (QB) returns. 36 tds coupled with 3,628 passing yards saying “I’m back” does a lot of good for a football team. Calvin Perry (the Aggie’s 2021 #1 rusher) and the number three (John Gentry) return. Mr. Perry had a decent 4.5 yards per rush, however Mr. Gentry featured an anemic average of 3.6 ypr. USU’s 2021 average rush per game was only 3.6 yards. Boo. But, with Mr. Bonner returning, the run game, once again, will not be a point of emphasis in 2022. Mr. Bonner’s top five wide receivers return featuring yards per catch averages ranging from 16.7 to 10.3. Unlike other programs, these five are actually wide receivers and tight ends. No running backs allowed. The Aggies will stretch the field again in 2022.

Defense: Last year, the Aggie defense was just shy of allowing 400 yards of total offense per game (392.7). Expect the same this year as they return sixteen of their top twenty tacklers. Justin Rice (ILB) will lead the defense, though not equaling last year’s grand total of 124 tackles would indicate an improved USU defense.

Last Thought: Head coach Blake Anderson becomes a man much sought and leaves USU for a lot of money somewhere else at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Boise State

Offense: Hank Bachmeier returns. He had an impressive completion rate of 62.8% and threw a mere 8 interceptions in 401 attempts. The Broncos leading rusher from 2021 returns. George Holani earned an above average 4.8 ypr while playing in only nine games last year. His 2022 partner is likely Tyler Crowe (5.1 ypr). Only one (Stefan Cobbs, 12. 4 ypc) of the top five receivers returns for Boise. Mr. Cobbs, Davis Koetter (11.4 ypc) and Billy Bowens (11.7 ypc) will receive the majority of Mr. Bachmeier’s attempts.

Defense: Boise State’s defense continues the admirable practice of “bend, but don’t break”. 2021 opponents enjoyed greater yards per rush (4.0 to 3.1) and yards per catch (13.2 to 12.3) than Boise’s offense, but the Broncos defense was extra stingy giving away red zone touchdowns only 45% of the time (17/38). Not bad. They return eighteen of their top twenty tacklers, thus much like Utah State, expect more of the bending, but not breaking in 2022.

Last Thought: If Boise suffers a poorly timed stumble in MW play, Air Force steps in front.

Air Force

Offense: Guess what? Air Force’s 2021 starting qb returns. I detect a trend. Haaziq Daniels completed 50% of his 104 passes while registering as the Falcons #2 rusher. Speaking of rushing, three of the top five rushers return including Mr. Daniels. The most intriguing is Deandre Hughes and his 8.2 ypr. Wow! The returning receiving corps (in name only) features the number three, four and five receivers from last year. By the way, these three gentlemen (Dane Kinamon, David Cormier and Kyle Patterson) combined for a total of twenty-five catches. Impressive paucity.

Defense: Sixteen of the top twenty return which includes six of the top seven. Air Force’s defense was the only MW team that allowed fewer than 300 yards of total offense per game. They clicked in at 296.7. During the first quarter of 2021, the defense allowed a total of 27 points. Getting off to a fast start against the Falcons is difficult.

Last Thought: Please refer to the Boise State Last Thought.


Offense: I know, both 2021 qbs transferred. Head coach Craig Bohl broke new recruiting ground by advertising for a quarterback. Funny and desperate. I’m betting the former Utah State qb Andrew Peasley takes advantage of his status as the only d-1 quarterback on the team with experience. Wait until I address the Colorado State and New Mexico qb rooms, and you will understand why I choose Wyoming for the fourth spot in the Mountain. Titus Swen (5.9 ypr) will lead the ground game in 2022. Dawaiian McNeely (6.6 ypr) is his likely roommate in the backfield while Trey Smith (6.6 ypr) serves as the type of back up who should be a starter. Mr. Peasley will throw to a serviceable group of returning receivers in Joshua Cobbs (9.8 ypc), Ayden Eberhardt 14.2 ypc), Treyton Welch (8.6 ypc) and Parker Christensen (9.8 ypc). Less Mr. Eberhardt, the ypc averages from 2021 were pathetic.

Defense: Only nine of the top twenty return. Last year’s opponents average of 370.4 yards per game likely increases.

Last Thought: If head coach Craig Bohl retains his job at season’s end, send a card. Nearing the end of his second contract with a 45-50 record is bad voodoo.

Colorado State

Offense: Guess how many qbs the Rams list on their 2022 roster? C’mon. Six? Nope. Five? You wish. Four? Bingo. Guess how many are true freshmen? Two. Guess how many are redshirt freshmen? Two. Mmm hmm. Now you know why I chose Wyoming fourth. David Bailey (3.8 ypr) and A’Jon Vivens (3.6 ypr) highlight a sickly running game. Avery Morrow (one of eleven transfers from Nevada) adds another body to run the ball. The good news for whomever emerges as the starting qb is three of the top four 2021 receivers return. I trust Dante Wright (12.5 ypc), Ty McCullouch (17.3 ypc), Gary Williams (13.7 ypc) and E.J. Scott 12.9 ypc) will grow accustomed to waiting and waiting on a decent downfield toss. The Nevada transfer, Tory Horton (12.7 ypc), will discover freshmen and redshirt freshmen quarterbacks are not Carson Strong.

Defense: Lots of opportunity for Rams’ defenders in 2022. Why? Only eleven of the top twenty return. CSU needs defensive help. Last year, CSU’s defense gave up a sizable 216 points during the second and third quarters. Much as Wyoming, last year’s 377.3 average total yards per game for CSU opponents increases in 2022.

Last Thought: I know much excitement generated over the arrival of the former Nevada head coach, Jay Norvell, as well as his eleven transfers. However, Mr. Norvell’s task of working with inexperienced quarterbacks, also defined as not many quarterbacks, lends to not much of a 2022 season.

New Mexico

Offense: Ugh. The Lobos averaged 12.2 points per game in 2021. They averaged less than 10 yards per catch. The offense scored a meager 15 tds the entire season. Painful and inept. Three qbs with 2021 experience return. Similar to owning three pair of pants, yet all three have holes. C.J. Montes and Connor Genal struggled to complete passes (30% and 35.7% respectively). Isaiah Chavez posted a 70.8% completion rate . . . in twenty-four attempts. I need more proof. The Kansas transfer, Miles Kendrick, enters the mix as well. He wins the starting job. As for the running game, a mix of qbs and wide recievers less Peyton Dixon (a real running back, 4.1 ypr) indicate a rough start. The #1 (Luke Wysong, 9,3 ypc) ) and #4 (Andrew Erickson, 10.6 ypc) receivers from 2021 hope to catch a pass or two each game.

Defense: Fifteen of the top twenty return. Defensive coordinator, Rocky Long, enters year three, thus this year’s crew has a grasp and understanding of his 3-3-5 defense. They improve in 2022, but not near enough to compensate for a near non-existent offense.

Last Thought: Head coach Danny Gonzales gets this year and next year to show improvement at a difficult place to win. Good luck.


West (re the above sentiment attached to the Mountain).

Fresno State

Offense: Jake Haener (67% completion, 4,096 yards passing and 33 td with only 9 interceptions) returns. Even though the Bulldogs lose Ronnie Rivers, who cares? Mr. Haener will shred many a defensive backfield during the 2022 season. Jordan Mims (5.6 ypr) is a capable replacement for Mr. Rivers, thus the Fresno running game continues to impact. Three of the five top receivers return. Zane Pope (18.8 ypc), Josh Kelly (14.9 ypc) and Jalen Cropper (10.5 ypc) will enjoy productive years courtesy of Mr. Haener.

Defense: A potential area of concern. Only eleven of the top twenty tacklers return. Last year’s 348.2 yards per game increases in 2022, but with the Bulldog’s explosive offense a less than stellar defense is not much of a concern.

Last Thought: I abide by my “the new-head-coach-has-a-sub-.500-first-year” rule, except in the case of Jeff Tedford. His second round as the head Bulldog results in lots of wins in 2022. Fresno State is in capable hands.

San Diego State

Offense: The Virginia Tech transfer Braxton Burmeister takes the quarterback reins for 2022. Mr. Burmeister posted passable (no pun intended) numbers at VT in 2021. The Aztecs hope, at a minimum, he posts the same numbers this year. The running game received a boost with the arrival of USC transfer Kenan Christon (5.7 ypr during his USC days). Chance Bell (4.7 ypr) andJordan Byrd (6.6 ypr) make a solid three back rotation. Only two of the top five receivers return, but one of those two is the 2021 #1 wide receiver, Jesse Matthews (11.2 ypc).

Defense: The defense returns twelve of the top twenty. However, transfers Cooper MacDonald (Washington), Justus Tavai (Hawaii) and Deven Lamp (Tulsa) have plenty of game experience, and lessen any impact of non-returning starters. Besides, in my not so humble opinion, the Aztecs’ defensive coordinator, Kurt Mattix, is the best in conference.

Last Thought: If Mr. Burmeister struggles, expect Will Haskell to take his spot.

San Jose State

Offense: The ever effective Nick Nash wins the qb competition over the Hawaii transfer Chad Cordeiro (and his 17 interceptions in 2021). Last year’s offense was surprisingly anemic (20 points per game). Losing their top rusher and receiver creates substantial challenges for the 2022 Spartan offense. Mr. Nash was the second leading rusher (5.7 ypr) in 2021, but I’m not a fan of starting qbs rushing often in the course of a game (Mr. Nash had 68 rushing attempts which was second on the team in 2021). Injury becomes far more likely. Three of the top four receivers return. Isaiah Hamilton (13.4 ypc), Jermaine Braddock (14.4 ypc) and Charles Ross (12.2 ypc) along with Nevada transfers Elijah Cooks (12 ypc) and Justin Lockhart (13.4 ypc) create a talented and deep group of receivers in 2022.

Defense: The Spartan defense returns seven of their top eight tacklers and fifteen of twenty overall. Last year the SJSU defense allowed a meager 3.5 ypr and only 9 rushing tds. However, they allowed an appalling 61% of fourth down conversions which contributed to a disappointing finish in 2021.

Last Thought: The Spartan offense has the potential to be the dominate passing force in the West in 2022 if Nick Nash can get the ball downfield. We shall see.


Offense: Head coach Marcus Arroyo finally lands a worthy qb in Tennessee transfer Harrison Bailey. The starting competition will be between Mr. Bailey and last year’s starter Cameron Friel (62% completion, but 11 interceptions negated many a 2021 drive). The 2022 running game takes a step backward with the return of only one running back who enjoyed any notable play time; Chad Magyar (3.5 ypr). Two of the top three receivers return: Zyell Griffin (and his eye popping 22.8 ypc) and Kyle Williams (15.1 ypc).

Defense: Thirteen of the top twenty return. The Rebel defense must improve. Opponents scored a total of 114 points in the second quarter, 103 points in the third quarter and 90 points in the fourth quarter during 2021. 409.4 yards per game was given up as well. If the defense does not improve, expect very few wins in 2022.

Last Thought: If the Rebels do not at least double last year’s win total of two, Mr. Arroyo lands on the 2023 hot seat.


Offense: Brayden Schager (60.8%) has the inside lead in the 2022 qb competition. Washington State transfer Cammon Cooper will push Mr. Schager if he struggles. One of the top four rushers returns. Dedrick Parson (5.3 ypr) is looking for a partner. Receivers Zion Bowens (21.4 ypc) and Jonah Panoke (11.2 ypc) are also looking for company.

Defense: Ugh. Four of the top twenty return. Gonna be a long year in the state of Hawaii in 2022. Last year’s 31.4 points allowed per game increases this season. Winning will be a tall order.

Last Thought: Todd Graham and his dysfunctional coaching is no longer an issue. But, rebuilding from that disaster will take a few years.


Offense: No more Carson Strong. Nate Cox, starting qb in waiting, is in limbo due to his, um, interaction with Nevada law enforcement. No other quarterback on the 2022 roster has any division one game experience. The good news is the return of Toa Taua (4.9 ypr) and to a lesser extent Devonte Lee (a mere 3.9 ypr). The top five 2021 receivers are gone. Jamaal Bell (8.5 ypc) is the only returning receiver who logged any substantial time on the field in 2021. Arizona transfer B.J. Casteel (9.9 ypc) offers game experience, but much more is needed.

Defense: Five of the top twenty return. Oh, no. Last year’s opponents held the ball almost three minutes more than the Wolf Pack offense. Almost three minutes balloons to five plus minutes by season’s end in 2022 as will the 406.7 yards per game on behalf of Wolfpack opponents.

Last Thought: New head coach Ken Wilson and staff will have a long, frustrating, difficult, when-will-this-season-end in 2022.

USC and UCLA are Big-10 bound. Of the two schools, UCLA was a surprise. I would have bet on the duo of USC and Oregon. Alas, the Ducks remain in the P12 . . . for now.

The Trojans and Bruins bring the sizable Los Angeles television market (the B10 now owns the television markets of Chicago, D.C./Baltimore and L.A.). Both schools travel well, aka, alumni. I must address the mavens who criticize the travel factor afflicting the two CA schools: No. No, travel is not and will not be a factor in team performance. Two facts to always hold dear while addressing the addition of these two schools: Football and money. If the USC men’s soccer team needs to spend a week in the state of Michigan, who cares? Another positive for the B10 is the proximity of the two CA schools. A brief (okay, no auto/truck/bus ride in L.A. is brief), rather nearby destination is beneficial for any visiting B10 school while playing volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and all the rest.

The money factor needs a separate paragraph. The most recent revenue numbers for the two conferences states $768 million for the B10 and $533 million for the P12. A difference of a whopping $235 million on behalf of the B10. That number divided by the 2022 B10 lineup equates to approximately $16.78 million per school as compared their P12 brethren who will never, ever see the aforementioned almost $17 million. A lot of extra coin will flow into the USC and UCLA athletic departments. The B10 media rights expire in 2023. Negotiations are underway. A combination of ESPN, FOX and CBS likely creates an offer near the $1 billion mark for the next contract. College football makes a ton of money.

The overall effect on the two conferences is substantial and heavily favors the B10. The invitation of the two CA schools is purely positive for the B10. Not so much for the P12. First, the P12 media contracts expire in 2024. Negotiations are surely underway. And those conversations have, um, paused and changed. ESPN and FOX are not about to offer the same cash with the loss of the southern California TV market. Would you pay the same amount of money for a double cheese burger as opposed to a baloney sandwich on white bread? Additionally, the P12 will feel the need to fill the void created by USC and UCLA. Ask the Big 12 if wishing away reality works well. Adapt or suffer more membership losses. Who the P12 adds is less than ideal from their view. I will not refer to the normal slew of Group of 5 candidates mostly from the Mountain West. I do entertain the thought of further P12 rupturing. My focus is on Oregon (they will not be pleased to witness two schools whose respective football programs pale in comparison to the Ducks make a great deal more money than the Ducks portion of the watered down P12 renewal offer) and Washington. Perhaps a partnership forms and phone calls are made to the Big 12. Another potential response is a handful of the more successful (football) P12 schools offer to form a new conference with all the B12 Texas schools and Oklahoma State. If a fusion of the P12 and B12 is created, the schools who stand a good chance to receive no offer of inclusion include Oregon State, Washington State, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia. In the case of the Mountaineers sometimes geography matters.

The departure of UT and Oklahoma from the B12 followed by yesterday’s good-bye/hello from USC and UCLA guarantees the Power 5 landscape will continue to experience monumental change as media rights expire and are then renegotiated. Fun times in the money house.