Program-defining games don’t come around too often. In my decade following San Diego State, there have been just a few games that have perfectly symbolized the entire state of Aztecs football.
- The Air Force win last year revealed that the Aztecs were now a team that could actually fight hard and finish the deal against a ranked opponent.
- The close loss against Ohio State in 2003 revealed that the Aztecs had players that could go toe-to-toe with anyone, but didn’t have the coaching or mental toughness to get over the hump.
- And the 70-7 loss at New Mexico in 2008 revealed that we would all be better off spending our Saturday nights in our bedrooms, carving Dan McGwire’s initials into our arms while listening to The Smiths.
At the risk of over-hyping a Week 3 nonconference game following a 2-0 start, Saturday’s game against Washington State feels like another one of those definitive moments waiting to happen. Which could be really good. Or really bad.
My reasoning for touting this as the biggest game since Super Bowl III:
Slaying the BCS monkey
As Letsdosomewaving pointed out yesterday, it’s been quite a while since SDSU pulled off a victory against a BCS team. How long ago was it? Well, I did some in-depth research and found out the following:
- The President at that time was someone other than our current President.
- Gasoline was sold at a different price than it is currently sold.
- The No. 1 song in that nation was performed by an artist that seemed really cool then and now you are too embarrassed to admit that you ever liked him/her/them.
Yes, that long ago. Crazy, huh?
Joking aside, the BCS skid really does matter—now, in fact, more than ever. Seeing as college football may be on the cusp of a big game of conference musical chairs, it would behoove SDSU to show it is a program of value that has what it takes to compete in an AQ conference. Any progress the Aztecs made toward that end last season would be severely diminished if they screw the pooch against a program that has been relegated to AQ punchline status in recent years, along with the likes of Vanderbilt, Duke, and Colorado.
The schedule gets quite a bit harder
A peek ahead after this week: At Michigan. TCU. At Air Force. If the Aztecs can’t handle the Cougars at home, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to assume SDSU will be 2-4 by early October. While that won’t be a death knell, it does mean they’d have to be perfect against the dregs of the schedule — New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State, UNLV, and CSU-Foodstamps — in order to guarantee a winning record and a bowl berth.
Playing to the crowd
With more than 50,000 fans likely to be at Qualcomm to watch purty colors and loud noises and ‘splosions and such after the game, an exciting win over a Pac-12 team (yes, even this one) would convince many of them to check out another game in the future. If the Aztecs lose? The fairweathers will be muttering “same old Ass-tecs” all the way back to their jacked up Toyota Tacomas in the parking lot.
And that’s not the only audience to think about. In that past, I know SDSU has used SkyShow as a showcase game for recruits. A victory in front of a large, raucous crowd would be a damn fine sales pitch.
So there you have it. A program-defining game. And judging from how the Cougars dominated an FCS team (Idaho State) and a two-hand touch intramural team (UNLV) in the past two weeks, it should be a tough game.
Let’s all hope the definition that’s about to be hung on the Aztecs proves to be less disgusting than your typical entry in Urban Dictionary.