Posts Tagged ‘SDSU’

Hawaii 31, SDSU 30

Posted: November 28, 2018 in Uncategorized
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A boggle of a loss.  Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  The perfect end to a disappointing final three MWC games (therein lies the true hurt) of the 2018 season.  The 2018 season was equivalent to an at-fault fender bender followed by losing your wallet.  On Friday night.

John Barron missing from 32 was the moment.  Not to lay, nor do I dare lay, the loss on his talented foot, but if he makes that kick, we never hear the word “overtime.”  This missed kick led to Rocky’s decision to go for two and the game when a standard point after touchdown would have created a second ot and another chance to win.

Hawaii owned the first half.  Cole McDonald was Heisman material.  Then, the vaunted defensive adjustment occurred post-half time, and Mr. McDonald returned to scale, thus no longer shredding the Aztec back eight.  Registering zeros in the third and fourth quarters should have sealed an Aztec win.  But, “should” is a dangerous word:  You should take out the trash.  You should avoid the last beer.  You should eat less crap.

Finishing 7-5 and 4-4 (especially) is inexplicable.  A shoulder shrug of a season.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda.  The 2018 season is to Aztec football fans what Monday morning is to a guy who hates his job, but won’t search for another.

Speaking of searching, seems to me that coaching staff changes will be made.  I will not speculate about specific coaches, but the inconsistency of the running game coupled with the o-line’s inability to block consistently will receive the cold glare of slow review from Rocky.  These guys know coaching is a business.  Things change.  Time advances.  Ideas evolve.  Do we remain Pound and Ground U?  Ryan Agnew threw enough to notice during his time in place of Christian Chapman.  I will say the wide receivers finally delivered a quality season long effort this year.  Something to shift towards or build upon for 2019?

The cold comfort of the MWC portion of our season is our total point spread for the 4 losses was 4 (Nevada), 3 (UNLV), 9 (Fresno State) and 1 (Hawaii).  All 4 losses were within our grasp, but a loss is a loss.  Will next year yield the same without change or major adjustment?

Finally, I doubt, strongly, that any bowl is interested in us given our sloppy end to a promising season.  Perhaps such polite decline is the ultimate motivator during spring ball, 2019.

 

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Consecutive MWC losses since I don’t know when.  Perhaps that is a good sign.

Hanging zeros in the third and fourth quarters is proof of a struggling offense.  We gained 64 yards on the ground the entire evening.  Our struggle to block continues.  Additionally, the offense created a paltry 8 first downs the entire game.  No offense stays on the field long enough to score with that few first downs.  The only good offensive news was SDSU receivers averaging 27.2 yards per completion.  Between Christian and Ryan, 8 passes were completed.  Each lays claim to 4.  Spread the mediocrity to equal measure.  Look!  We are both crappy.

Congrats to the defense for keeping the Bulldogs far under their offensive average.  Kyahva Tezino (15 tackles) and Parker Baldwin (14 tackles) gave me a reason to continue watching the game.  At least we had the decency to sack Mr. McMaryion 3 times while he enjoyed a 17/24/267 night.

Fred Trevillion had his best game by far with a line of 4/189 and 2 scores.  Maybe he can repeat that line against Hawaii.

If you did not notice, Hawaii is tied with us for third place in the West.  Saturday night, we arrive ready to play or we end the MWC season with a rough 4-4 record.  Bowl eligible is not the same as an invitation.

7-4/4-3.

 

We started as the proverbial house afire.  Two sustained drives of 12 plays and 75 yards followed by 8 plays and 80 yards.  14 points.  I’m thinking the offense finally arrives.

Not so.

Yet, the Aztecs were seemingly dominant.  24 first downs to Nevada’s 14.  173 yards rushing to their mere 62.  Even Ryan Agnew posted better numbers than Ty Gangi:  283 passing yards and 3 tds compared to 235 yards and 2 tds.  Tell me those facts before the game and I’m looking at win number 7, not loss number 2.

Chance Bell (5.2 ypc) continues to impress.  He makes Chase Jasmin (5.3 ypc) a better runner.  Nothing like competition to fan the flames of playing time.  Congrats to Kahale Warring for an evening of 6/95 and 2 tds.  Brandon Heicklen punted the air out of the football.  6 punts for an average of 44.8 including one at the Wolf Pack 4 yard line.

Jordan Byrd dropping the punt and returning all punts for 4 lousy yards needs to be fixed.  Now.

A by and large lucky season to date given the number of freshmen and redshirt freshmen on the field at the skill positions of wide receiver and running back.  The kids have logged major minutes during the course of the season.  Granted, when Juwan Washington returns, the march of underclassmen at the running back spot stops.  While Ryan Agnew has performed admirably, I want Christian Chapman to start against UNM.  Work out the rust long before the Fresno State game.

6-2/3-1.

Go, Aztecs.

 

Ugly was pretty.  Who knew?

The first half featured the Aztec offense wondering what game was played?  Hockey?  Softball?  Tennis?  Why is the ball weirdly shaped?  We could not have looked and played with more incompetency.  Bad is a compliment.  Seemingly, false starts were the order of the day.  We had, I don’t know, 14, 26, 37 false starts.  Sure, I exaggerate, but my point of an absent offense is well taken.  You are welcome.

The good news:  We won.  Fred Trevillion caught the first pass thrown to him.  And did not have a single drop the entire game.  New horizons for Fred.  Chase Jasmin gained the most grueling 78 yards of his life.  He left the game limping (not good news).  His pinball bounce move in the fourth quarter set up Jordan Byrd’s 72 yard run.  Without Chase reversing course, a different outcome emerges.  Kobe Smith can catch punts.  Luq Barcoo is good.  Depth charts don’t mean much to Rocky.  Darren Hall, Connor Mitchell and Damon Moore enjoyed many minutes on the field.  Darren recorded a pick and Damon a sack.  Zidane Thomas had two carries (his first carry was during our third offensive possession of the game.  You think I don’t notice).  He is the fifth running back on the almighty chart.  Who needs starters?

God bless, John Barron.  Without him, we are an average football team hanging our hat on fourth and whatever.

In addition to Darren Hall’s interception, I applaud Tariq Thompson and Ronley Lakalaka for good hands.  Kyahva Tezino will provide nightmares for Brett Rypien the remainder of the season.  Kyahva delivered many a body shiver.  Brandon Heicklen was booming the ball.  He averaged 44.9 yards on 8 punts.  Well done.

I was surprised by Boise not attempting an onside kick after the missed extra point with 5:07 remaining.  Thank you, Boise coaching staff.

As for the numbers, the Aztec defense held Boise to an average of 2.9 yards per play.  Boise had 2 rushing yards at the end of the first quarter.  At the half, they had a total of 72 yards of offense.  The Broncos ballyhooed passing game stalled at 8.1 yards per catch and a slight 178 yards for the game.  If I told you before kickoff that the Aztecs would have 9 first downs and 267 yards of total offense, you would have asked, “Did we lose by two or three touchdowns?”

Thank you, Rocky.

4-1/1-0.

Go, Aztecs.

 

 

The Cardiac Kids are alive and well.  This year’s team is exhausting.  Couple our need to take the last two games to the wire with a start time of 7:30 p.m. (this game), and I’m whipped.

The offensive line was in fine shape.  Sure the occasional breakdown and holding call (we would have scored 35 points!  Keep your hands to yourself, big guys) flared.  When Zach Thomas went down during the second quarter causing Dominic Gudino to take the right guard spot, I’m thinking, “Well, let’s see if the o-line firms or collapses”.  Firm was the outcome.  Juwan Washington averaged 5.1 per carry, Chase Jasmin (definitely the #2 guy behind Juwan) averaged 5.9 per carry and Ryan Agnew (he has speed Christian Chapman can only dream of ) averaged 4 yards per carry.  No other proof is required as to the effectiveness of the big guys.  The second half was 21 plus minutes of pushing, shoving and being generally unpleasant with the Arizona State defense.  The Sun Devil defensive line and linebackers were torn and frayed.

Ryan Agnew’s 12/24/129 seems paltry, but his three consecutive completions to B.J. Busbee (welcome to the field of play) and Ethan Dedeaux (twice) was part of a 6/9/77 sequence which tied the game at 14.  Not bad for a first start.

John Barron from 54 had enough on the ball to have nailed a 65 yard attempt.  WOW!  17-14 will never be as impressive again.

Kyahva Tezino had a fantastic game.  He was everywhere less the stands selling popcorn.  I must admit concern about Kyree Woods.  He gave up too many completions.  Without improvement, I see either Luq Baarcoo, Jeff Clay or Darren Hall taking his spot.  ASU was picking on Mr. Woods for a reason.

The Aztec defense, less my concerns about Mr. Woods, gathered momentum during the second half.  ASU had the ball in the third and fourth quarters for a total of 8 minutes and 54 seconds.  At the half, the Sun Devils had 254 yards of total offense.  At the end of the third quarter they tacked on an additional and whopping 13 yards (yawn).  Well done, Aztecs.

Kudos to SDSU administration for the SDSU West presentation so kindly aired by CBS during the game.  I choose to believe this notice was especially effective coupled with a win over a ranked rigged 5 school.

In addition to B.J. Busbee (fr-rs), congrats to Jordan Byrd (fr), Shane Coleman (fr-rs) and Keshawn Banks (fr) on substantial play time and bright futures.

2-1.

Go, Aztecs.

 

Where to begin.

The first half had a pall.  Sure, 7-0 was pleasant, but the inability of the Aztec offensive line to block outside the tackles, especially to the left, was forcing Juwan Washington to run up the gut (with gusto), and nowhere else.

To speak of “to the left”, Tyler Roemer (left tackle) and Daishawn Dixon (left guard) were repeatedly unable to hold blocks during the first half.  Boo.

So, Jeff Horton calls up the gut plays . . . and we score.  Juwan ran for 20+, 10+, 40+, 6-ish, then a td.  Kudos to Dominic Guidino, Keith Ismael and the afore criticized Mr. Dixon for plowing openings galore for Mr. Washington.

Stanford goes three and out.  We follow with seeming momentum until Isaac Lessard is flagged for a chop block, thus we punt.  Boo.  However, during this sequence, Ethan Dedeaux (r-fr) catches a pass (in other receiving news, Fred Trevillion dropped his first opportunity, thus enhancing the legend of Hit Me On My Number And I Drop My First Pass Trevillion).  Mr. Dedeaux is one to watch  and offers Christian Chapman dreams of 60% completion rates.

Stanford scores two points via a hesitant safety by the officiating squad.  The head ref (forgive my lack of football referee knowledge) seemed to need a tutorial in signaling the safety call.  Perhaps because the call was crap.

Prior to this bit of neighbohood football officiating, Chase Jasmin spelled Mr. Washington, thus received his first dose of competitive, non-wipe out football.  He did so the next set of downs as well (and gathered a rushing first down).  Yes, this is Jeff Horton taking a look under the hood for future reference.  Howl all you want about why-was-Juwan-not-in-the-game.  I don’t care.  Many Aztec fans deplore this side of Mr. Horton, but I offer my inestimable support (incredibly valuable.  Much like your drunken friend cheering you on during a fight . . . that you are losing) in preparation for the MWC schedule.  You know, what really matters.

Then comes the Noble Hall moment.  Mr. Hall catches a batted football and decides to emulate Juwan Washington (mistake).  Rather than tucking the ball with both arms securely against his midsection, he assumes the spirit of Mr. Washington, and has the ball poked out of his arms into Stanford possession, which allows the halftime score of 9-7.  However, I disagree with Rocky that this moment was a game changer or momentum shift.

The first possession in the third quarter features Mr. Dedeaux catching another pass from Mr. Chapman.  Unreal.  Based off of last year.  And the year before.  However, we punt.

Stanford scores by and large because of consecutive penalties on the Aztec defensive backfield.  Boo.

Coach Horton then displays what could be an actual passing game.  The one where receivers catch passes from Christian Chapman.  I offer, Mr. Trevillion, Mr. Dedeaux, and Tim Wilson, Jr making consecutive catches.  Mr. Trevillion makes another catch.  John Barron hits a field goal.  16-10.  Not bad.

As Stanford works towards another score, I find comfort with the fact that Bryce “Heisman” Love has done nothing.  The Aztec defense has face stuffed him all game long.  When Stanford goes horizontal, they do so with nothing to show.  Yet, when they throw vertical, our defensive backfield is at risk.  The Stanford receivers stepped in front and made catches.  They out jumped us and made catches.  Thus, the Aztec defensive weakness.  But, better to have one weakness than many.

Remaining Aztec highlights of the third and fourth quarters feature another 40+ run by Mr. Washington and catches by Mr. Dedeaux and Mr. Wilson, plus a nine yard run by Chase Jasmin.  We had a chance to score during the Dedeaux-Wilson-Jasmin sequence, but our o-line gave up consecutive sacks of Mr. Chapman.  Again, boo.

As we move forward, the Aztec offensive line needs to ignore the media praise.  The big guys need to prove their collective worth.  Sustain your blocks and protect your quarterback.  The defensive secondary must stay stride for stride with taller wider receivers or face similar results via this 31-10 loss.  And, STOP WITH THE PENALTIES ALREADY!!!!.  Over 100 yards?  C’mon.  Parker Baldwin had a career game.  Juwan Washington is the real deal.  We seem to have the beginnings of a passing game.

Next is Sacramento State at home.  Fireworks await.  I want a shutout (okay, I’ll accept a single digit) of Hornet offense.  Pound and ground, then stretch the field.  May Fred Trevillion catch the first ball thrown to him (I may pass out.  Get it?).  Deliver good basic football without a field’s worth of penalties.

Aztecs, 0-1.

Eleven to go.

 

 

Since early October, 2017 a month’s worth of information has accumulated, thus I must respond.

Certainly, San Diego State University’s decision to become a competitor of FS Investors (Soccer City) changes the San Diego community view and prompts the choosing of sides, which is not unfortunate, rather necessary.  Are you a supporter of a university educating 30,000+ students or do you pine for retail and office space?

Once SDSU decided to employ Populous to develop and present the site design, any hint of amateurism or lack of commitment on SDSU’s behalf disappeared.  Any CSU campus committing $100,000 for stadium/site renderings is rare air.  Populous also brings familiarity given their development of Petco Park, to say nothing of several other football and soccer stadiums worldwide.

Populous hinting at the inclusion of soccer stadium design elements is strictly fodder for San Diego soccer fans, who are uncomfortable with FS Investors soccer/retail vision, to support SDSU West in hope of one day attending an MLS game.  I doubt SDSU will chase any MLS opportunity given the dicey financial nature of most MLS franchises.  The funding challenges facing SDSU are significant.  Adding a tenant who may (implying may not) make the lease payments on time is risky and unnecessary.  Inviting the Chargers, Rams and another NFL team to play August exhibition games is a guaranteed full stadium and tidy rental fee with no long-term commitment or presence of a tenant.

After partnering with Populous, the university hired PCI Consultants to launch and secure a signature drive to place SDSU West either on a ballot (6/18 or 11/18) or in front of the San Diego City Council for approval.  What could have been an unorganized gaggle of SDSU alumni and students sprinkled throughout the city and county without any signature gathering experience is now a well-coordinated army of signature gatherers stationed in front of mega-shopping centers, grocery stores and malls as of October 21, 2017 through the next ten weeks (ending just prior to January 1, 2018).  Oh, yes, do include the Aztec home games during that time frame.  To say nothing of campus.  Tens of thousands of Aztec alumni and students is the ultimate captive audience.  The required 71,646 signatures for the ballot initiative will be easily eclipsed by 25,000 to 30,000 at the end of the year.  I find intriguing the City Council option of approving SDSU West without the necessity of a ballot measure (this possibility was implied in Roger Showley’s UT article dated 10/19/17).  Why have a messy election if we can receive a stamp of approval instead?

Speaking of the San Diego City Council, council member Chris Cate’s illegal delivery of city documents pertaining to Soccer City to FS Investors will develop into a festering wound that drains away some public support for Soccer City.  I do not propose that Mr. Cate’s entry into UPS/Fed Ex competition makes for a complete collapse of Soccer City, but his foolish action and unapologetic response will irk San Diego citizens who have no patience for politics as usual.  If Mr. Cate’s illegal activity blossoms into charges filed by the Attorney General of California, Soccer City will find itself unwittingly, but deservingly, attached to Mr. Cates legal woes.  Expect SDSU supporters to emphasize that connection without mercy.

The San Diego City Council and Mayor Faulconer must acknowledge that SDSU West provides something more than a retail opportunity (stressed by FS Investors) and the associated minimum wage/low paying jobs.  Does San Diego want or need another Fashion Valley?  SDSU West is an investment in not only SDSU’s ability to absorb a student population increase of 50% by 2030, but also employment opportunity for professors, researchers, university administration and support as well as the continued education of what becomes a legion of California taxpayers.  Nothing beats a solid base of taxpayers in maintaining not only a city or region, but also the financial vitality of a state.  Would San Diego citizens rather enjoy the benefit of university based jobs paying between $40,000 to $125,000+ annually or the thrill of minimum wage moans of young adults stuck in the vortex of low paying jobs?  Kevin Acee’s 11/3/17 UT article sums the choice nicely:  “My sole desire is to see whatever is done on the property be the best for San Diego’s economic and cultural advancement . . .”  Indeed.

As for the money to develop the area and football stadium, SDSU currently sits on $150 million, an amount of money that needs to increase.  The university recently completed a ten-year fund-raising effort that resulted in $815 million for all things Aztecs.  SDSU administration and alumni have substantial fund raising skills.  The school can issue construction bonds to cover some costs.  Stadium and field (always separate the two) naming rights will generate significant sums of money for the school to payoff said bonds.  In addition to generous current and, no doubt, future donors, SDSU can use funds from the Campanile Foundation to assist in developing SDSU West.  Too many San Diego citizens forget that SDSU continues to undergo impressive physical change on campus.  Money is found for priority campus projects.  Money will be found for SDSU West.

The next time you drive past SDCCU (I prefer the Murph), would you rather see a university or a retail outlet in its place?

 

As mentioned during my MWC football preview, San Jose State has a lot to fix.  A lot.  New coaching staffs are usually (with Fresno State the exception) a recipe for a long year.  San Jose State’s 1-9 record is proof.  But, Spartan faithful, your new coaching staff will right the football program.  Patience will pay.  Trust me.

Where to begin?  The Aztecs took the words “run” and “rush” to new definitions.  554 total yards rushing is, as an acquaintance says, “bat shit crazy”.  Indeed.  Rather than lob the usual acclaim at Rashaad  Penny and Juwan Washington, I want to applaud the play of Chase Jasmin (14/86, 5.9 yards per rush), Tyler Wormhoudt (7/45, 6.4 yards per rush) and Chad Woolsey (5/23, 4.2 yards per rush).  This trio rushed for 154 yards combined.  Well done.

Our run game allowed us a shining 11/13 on third down.

We did not punt.  Not once.

SDSU had 31 first downs (SJSU had 8).  Christian Chapman and Ryan Agnew were a combined and meager 6/7, yet averaged 15.7 yards per completion.  Thank you, wide receivers and Nick Bawden (nice catch while wearing a catcher’s glove).

The Aztecs had the ball for 43+ minutes.  In case you forgot, 60 minutes makes a game.

On behalf, of the San Jose State punter, he is a draft pick.  Almost 49 yards per punt.  As often as he punts, I’m guessing he suffers from leg fatigue.  Shame on me.

8-2/4-2.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

Mountain Division

First:  Boise State

No kidding?  May as well predict heat during August.

Brett Rypien returns as the starting quarterback.  Mr. Rypien is talented beyond his years and experience.  Boise loses their top rusher from 2016, but return the next four.  Alexander Mattison looks to be the best of the lot.  Granted, Boise will throw, but the ground game is ready and deep.  Speaking of throwing, the Broncos lose their #1 and #3 receivers, but return four receivers with double-digit receptions.  Cedrick Wilson and Chaz Anderson should get most of the downfield looks from Mr. Rypien.  Boise’s offense averaged almost 475 yards per game.  Do not expect much change this year.

Defensively, an impressive 17 of the 20 top tacklers return.  Ben Weaver (#1 tackler) and Darren Lee (3# tackler) lead an experienced group.

Second:  Colorado State

The difference between the Rams, Wyoming and Air Force is thin.  Injury, last-minute mistakes and freaky weather (we are discussing the Mountain Division of the MWC.  After the first week in October, most anything can fall from the sky) may well fall to the wayward side of talent in deciding second place.

Nick Stevens improved tremendously last year.  19 touchdowns coupled with only 5 interceptions.  Well done.  CSU also returns their #2 quarterback as well which lends comfort to a worst case scenario.   The Rams return their top two rushers in the formidable duo of Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews.   2016’s top two receivers, Michael Gallup and Olabisi Johnson, will help Mr. Stevens stretch the field.  When clicking, Colorado State will put points galore on the board.  Opponents preparing for this offense will find plenty of challenge.

Can CSU’s defense keep a fourth quarter lead in 2017?  14 of the 20 top tacklers return that includes 8 of the top 10.  The Rams defense gave up 30.1 points per game last year.  If they do no worse in 2017, second place becomes more likely.

Third:  Wyoming

The Cowboys surprised everybody in 2016.  Josh Allen was the conference’s next best quarterback after Brett Rypien.  If Mr. Allen reduces last year’s 15 interceptions to at least 9 in 2017, he may post the best conference qb numbers.  Sadly, Wyoming loses their top three receivers from 2016.  C.J. Johnson is the only returning receiver with substantial experience.  This poses a potential early season problem for the Cowboys offense and Mr. Allen.  If the new group of receivers runs routes and catches the football, no problem.  If not, Wyoming fans may as well wear a parka on a seventy degree day to experience Mr. Allen’s discomfort.  Shaun Wick will lead the running game.  Much like the receivers, Mr. Wick’s colleagues need to be effective or what should be an explosive offense will fall far shy of last year’s 436 yards per game.

8 of the top 10 tacklers return (17 of the top 20 overall).  Yet, last year’s group gave up more yards (453) per game than their offense generated.  Ouch.

Fourth:  Air Force

A challenging year awaits the Falcons.  They begin the 2017 season losing 4 of their top 6 rushers, starting quarterback and top receiver from last year.  The good news is Arion Worthman brings 2016 experience to the quarterback position along with Tim McVey leading the usual endless running game (the top six rushers for Air Force had a combined 716 carries in 2016).  Air Force fans who might be quick to point out the #2, #3 and #4 receivers return will be reminded to examine their respective catches of 8, 8 and 6.  Regardless, Air Force runs the ball first and foremost.  Charge.

If you thought the offense faced a challenge, the defense will need to replenish the troops, so to speak, quickly.  Only 6 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Retaining last year’s stingy 26 points per game and measly 3.4 yards per rush is almost impossible.

Fifth:  New Mexico

Much of the 2016 offense returns.  Lamar Jordan should get the majority of qb reps this year.  The Lobos lose their #1 rusher from 2016, but return #2 through #5.  Tyrone Owens averaged a stunning 8 ypc last year while Diquon Woodhouse averaged 8.6 ypc on only 27 rushes.  Almost as much depth at the receiver spot returns with the #1 (Q Drennan and his eye-popping 25.8 ypc), #3 and #4 receivers returning.  At the very least, Mr. Jordan will have options.

The UNM defense faces a reality almost as difficult as Air Force.  Only 10 of the top 20 tacklers return.  This includes a loss of 8 of the first 10.  Will the Lobos defense hold onto single digit leads with two minutes remaining?  Will they keep the opposition under 400 yards per game as last year?  Lots of nail-biting awaits.

Sixth:  Utah State

Lackluster describes the 2016 USU season.  At times disinterest seemed to apply as well.  Yawn.  Damn, this is only the third quarter?

Kent Myers returns as the staring qb.  How a qb throws for almost 2,400 yards, yet no more than 10 touchdowns is a long explanation.  Tony Lindsey returns as last year’s #1 rusher.  Much like Mr. Myers, Mr. Lindsey averaged 5.2 ypc, but a paltry game average of 63.6 yards.  How?  Ron’quavion Tarver and Rayshad Lewis should repeat as the #1 and #2 receivers in 2017.

The defense loses 4 of their top 5 tacklers from 2016 and return only 11 of the top 20. Utah State offered the opposition almost 30 points per game last year.  This year will be close to 35.  I sense a coaching staff change.

West Division

First:  San Diego State

If the rest of the West was stronger, SDSU finishing first would be less likely especially given the new faces on defense, but the rest of the West offers little resistance.

Christian Chapman returns as the starting qb.  20 touchdowns and only 6 picks should generate more than 1,994 yards.  Maybe this year.  Donnel Pumphrey is now in Philly.  Rashaad Penny moves to the #1 back with Juwan Washington assuming the supporting role.  Returning receivers Mikah Holder and Quest Truxton along with tight end David Wells must improve on last year’s efforts or maintaining last year’s 35 points per game will be unlikely.

The defense loses 5 of the top 10 tacklers.  Only 11 of the top 20 return.  But, Rocky Long is not only one of the best head coaches in the NCAA, but also one of the best defensive coordinators, thus a brief learning curve awaits the newbies.

Second:  Hawaii

I’m not joking.  The Rainbow is shining bright.  Head coach Nick Rolovich and staff created much improvement during 2016.  Rainbow fans have a reason to once again watch football.

Dru Brown returns as the starting quarterback.  He threw for almost 2,500 yards last year.  While Hawaii loses their #1 (and #4) receiver from last  year, John Ursua and Dylan Collie return for more catches than last year.  Diocemy Saint Juste, last year’s #1 rusher, leads an otherwise inexperienced rushing crew.  But, whereas Air Force runs when in doubt, Hawaii will take to the air.  Points will be scored.

Points will also be scored against the Rainbow defense.  Opposing teams averaged 462 yards during 2016.  2017 features only 12 of the top 20 tacklers returning.  Losing 5 of the top 10 will pose a challenge.

Third:  San Jose State

New coaching staffs usually indicate a year of clumsy learning, disappointment and doubt.  Welcome to 2017, Spartans.

Enough returns on the offense to create the hope that points can be scored.  Josh Love, last year’s #2 qb, is most likely this year’s starting qb.  Malik Roberson and Zamore Zigler both averaged over 5 ypc last year.  Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley were 2016’s #2 and #3 receivers.  They provide Mr. Love with experienced targets.

13 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Last year the Spartans gave up 433 yards per game and 35 points.  The good news is, improvement is possible.

Fourth:  UNLV

If they had more returning defensive players, I would have placed the Rebels third.  Alas, not so.

Tony Sanchez has done a lot in little time as head coach.  A bad case of unrealistic expectations is ill-advised on behalf of alumni and administration.  Coach Sanchez is “the guy”.  Remain patient.

Johnny Stanton and Kurt Palandech shared the starting qb spot last year and may well do so again this year.  Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas return as a powerful running duo.  4 of their top 5 receivers return for 2017 including Devonte Boyd who averaged almost 75 ypg.

Last year UNLV’s defense gave up 430 ypg.  This year may they be so lucky.  They lose their top 6 tacklers (and 7 of the top 8) from 2016.  Ouch.  Only 8 of the top 20 return.  Good luck during the fourth quarter.

Fifth:  Nevada

Have I mentioned my aversion to new coaching staffs?

Ty Gangli gets the starting qb job in 2017.  James Butler and Jaxson Kincaide were last year’s top two rushers and should repeat as such this year.  Wyatt Demps leads an inexperienced receiving corps.  This group must improve as the season progresses or Mr. Gangli’s 8 td and 6 picks will not improve in 2017.

The good news for Wolfpack fans is 8 of the top 10 tacklers return and 15 of the top 20.  The 456 ypg allowed should lessen this year.  As should the 6.1 yards per rush and 13.4 yards per catch.

Sixth:  Fresno State

The usual caution about the new coaching staff and begin.

A lot returns from 2016.  The uncomfortable fact of not quite 18 points per game returns as well.  Chason Virgil barely averaged a 51% completion rate last year.  Much needs to improve.  Dontel James averaged less than 3.5 ypc last year.  Much needs to improve.  Mr. Virgil will have 3 of his top 4 receivers return as well.  Plainly speaking, if this group could not average 20 points per game last year, why this year?

The top 2 tacklers and 3 of the top 5 do not return.  But, 13 of the top 20 do return.  This group was part of last year’s 31 points allowed per game.  Tough times in Fresno.

 

The simplistic thought process of Kevin Acee’s 6/23/17 UT piece is astounding.  Mr. Acee, long a Soccer City supporter at the expense of SDSU, suggests that Aztec football coach Rocky Long lead the school to the light known as Soccer City (beware of train tracks and tunnels).

Per Mr. Acee’s musings, he insists that Mr. Long must rise in Aztec Warrior gear and smack SDSU administration on its collective helmet to knock sense into all things Aztec.  Key to this dream is Mr. Acee’s reference to Mr. Long once loudly disagreeing with a former athletic director.  A coach, not just football, who speaks his mind?  Who knew?  Believe the vision or else prepare for shouting.

As the article unfolds with alarms, sirens, flashing red lights and general call for panic, Mr. Acee obviously wants SDSU to return to the fleecing of Soccer City whereupon the university would underwrite the annual operating expenses for an MLS squad per agreement with FS Investors.  I think not.

Mr. Acee forgets that FS Investors is under no obligation to pursue an MLS franchise.  Also, MLS has never guaranteed granting a San Diego franchise.  Attaching the future of Aztec football to a potential MLS franchise has all the surety of fog.  Since when does a stadium ranging in capacity from 22,500 to 30,000 satisfy the desire to move up the college football money ladder?  FS Investors development plan physically surrounds the proposed stadium with various forms of development that would make impossible the false promise of stadium expansion.   Moving a multi-story office building slightly to the left to expand the end zone is a non-starter.  SDSU would guarantee itself the proud owner of the smallest MWC football stadium.  The best football team in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.  The most populous city in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.

As Mr. Acee writes of solutions, then he immediately dismisses said solutions.  No viable alternative exists.  All is lost.  The end is, oh, so near.  Only Soccer City saves.  Amen.  Soccer City accepts checks and credit cards.  Tell a loved one.

But, don’t tell Rocky Long.  Rocky will smack you upside your helmet.