Editor’s note: This is the second installment of Mental Azturbation, a continuing series of baseless articles pontificating on the future of Aztecs athletics. Be warned that while the following post may be momentarily gratifying, you will finish feeling empty and a little ashamed.
I always love it when people with no insight into how college football schedules are hashed out criticize athletic directors for failing to schedule games against sexy opponents (Freida Pinto A&M?). I’m sure even the AD at New Mexico State gets roasted all the time by Aggie fans:
“You know who we should schedule a home-and-home with? Notre Dame! Think about it: It’ll help Brian Kelly recruit the Las Cruces/El Paso metroplex, which I heard from a guy with inside info on the WAC message board is a big priority for the Irish …”
So why am I essentially doing the same thing here by publicly offering Jim Sterk my super bitchin’ scheduling idea? Because I’m a damn hypocrite, that’s why. Plus, this idea is super bitchin’.
OK, I think I’ve talked it up enough. Grab a pen, Mr. Sterk, and brace yourself for THE BIG IDEA:
Schedule a neutral site football game and feast on the sweet, sweet TV rights nectar within.
Alright, so maybe it’s not the most novel idea. I mean, even current and former Mountain West schools have already gotten into the act as TCU plays BYU this season at Cowboys Stadium.
While the Aztecs don’t have quite the profile of those programs, they do have something that might be enough to attract the name opponent needed to make this work — Southern California. See, rumor has it they have a lot of swell football recruits down here. The Pac 12 schools in the Bay Area or Pacific Northwest covet those shiny recruits, yet will get fewer chances to visit Southern California now that they are in a separate division from USC and UCLA.
More specifically: SDSU probably wants to play school like Oregon, but can’t set that up without agreeing to some sort of humiliating arrangement where they have to play eight away games for every home game, plus wash Phil Knight’s Ferrari. Schools like Oregon want to recruit Southern California, but don’t want to stoop to scheduling a home-and-home with a lowly non-AQ prole.
With a neutral site game, both programs could get what they want and split a pretty decent TV payday in the process.
Ah, but there’s one snag: Where to play? Southern California isn’t exactly littered with viable football venues. Well, to save our very busy AD the time and effort of googling this himself, I’ve compiled a handy list of viable options — minus the Rose Bowl and Coliseum, which I discovered already host other college football teams. Who knew?
My short list:
PETCO Park, San Diego
Pros: No need to leave town and drinking in the Gaslamp will make the beers at the Q seem cheap.
Cons: It’s scientifically impossible to score there. If Padres games are any indication, the Aztecs will lose 4-3 on a fourth quarter safety by a distant cousin of Luke Gregerson. Also, the playing surface might not be big enough to fit a football field. Minor details.
Del Mar Racetrack, Del Mar
Pros: Plop down a football field on the infield, and you’ve got the most kitsch-ass event since Northwestern’s Wrigley Field game. ESPN would put College Gameday on that shit, for sure.
Cons: Other than the fact that a field probably wouldn’t fit there without filling in a pond? Players dressing in horse stables. The terrifying ghost of Jimmy Durante. Possible equine herpes outbreaks. This has disaster written all over it, actually.
Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim of Anaheim
Pros: SDSU can engage its Los Angeles alumni while still playing in comfortable driving distance from San Diego. They can proclaim it SDSU day at Disneyland, thus fulfilling my fantasy of Zuma meeting Scrooge McDuck.
Cons: The stadium doesn’t have the good football seats it did prior to its baseball renovation, and it wasn’t exactly Lambeau Field before. Plus, it’s the O.C., so you never know when these ass clowns might show.
Home Depot Center, Carson
Pros: It’s a really nice building and with a capacity of only 27,000, the game will sell out for sure. Plus, thanks to the title sponsor, they already have smart orange aprons for the chain crew to wear.
Cons: Carson is a great place for people who are really into pollution.
Auto Club Speedway, Fontana
Pros: Rocky Long wants to recruit the Inland Empire, and what better way to do that than playing an annual game in Fontucky? The speedway seats over 90,000, and a gridiron wedged between the track and pit row would still be about 200 feet closer to the grandstand than the field level seats at Qualcomm.
Cons: Players might get distracted by all the tire fires and meth lab explosions in the surrounding area.
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Pros: This is another high-profile location to get the national media’s attention. Also, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt would probably let the Aztecs play there for $200 and a carton of Newports.
Cons: Cons. Lots of cons. I’m pretty sure those outfield pavilions are used as one big gang-rehabilitation halfway house. Plus, play there once and you’ll never get that Dodger stink out of your clothes.
You got all this, Jim? Pick a location, any location. Let’s do this thing.