It wasn’t long ago that we here at the Sons of Monty were booking airfare, hotel rooms, rental cars and yelping all the best local eating & drinking establishments for one of our annual road trip SDSU football games. Our last roadie was to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado back in 2019, when our Aztecs controlled the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins. It was a road trip to witness the Rams new stadium for ourselves and to envision what a new Aztecs stadium could be like in San Diego. And it was well worth frustrating yourself over while navigating through the labyrinth of hell better known as the Denver International Airport.
Our indelible quest to view stadiums all across the land was something we genuinely looked forward to each season. A chance to get a glimpse of what it’s like to own your own home, have your own school colors up on the wall, and maybe even a full color big screen tv with more than one channel.
That annual streak of stadium visits was obviously put to an end last season.
This gawd awful global pandemic isn’t over yet and there are news reports from all over the media that remind us so (insert motivational speech to go get vaccinated so we can watch football from the stands again). But it appears that all the wheels in the College Football machine are spinning and it’s almost time to get these games cranked up. Here is a detailed visual look at the SDSU football schedule complete with dates, times, and TV networks.
You would think after a whole season layoff from being able to watch our Aztecs take the field live, that we would all be lathering up with our Potato Tears sanitizer and buying our tickets to see the Black & Red this early fall. But again comes the reminder when you read the fine print—All home games will once again be played in Dignity Health Sports Park Stadium in Carson, California.
Not a phrase anyone wants to hear after Team Spanos evicted themselves out of that joint.
But it is the reality of our situation. The One City One Team Aztecs will instead be the Road Warriors once again this year and try to prove to the whole nation that San Diego indeed truly is even a State.
We will have a more in depth Schedule breakdown analysis of the matchups as we get closer to the opening kick vs New Mexico State on the 4th of September. But until then, here’s our ranking (in descending order) of the best games to catch live in Carson for this upcoming SDSU Aztecs football season.
If you would’ve asked me six months ago whether I had ever heard of an institution of higher education named Towson, I couldn’t have said yes. So of course this is last on our list. The Towson Tigers of Maryland are an FCS team that has teams like Stony Brook, James Madison and North Dakota State on their schedule. So while they may be a division beneath us, no one can be taken lightly. Either way, this may be the one home game I miss this season.
11. At Air Force
Ranking this game worse than New Mexico State may appear to be odd but when you think about watching that horrendous option style offense for 4 quarters you may change your mind. And again anything to avoid Denver International. Air Force actually is an interesting team to keep an eye on this season. The Falcons are always tough and seem to play spoilers in the Mountain Division every so often.
10. At Hawaii
I would like to make a Hawaii football road-trip one day, except this season the Rainbows Aloha Stadium is shuttered just how the old Murph was in San Diego. Hopefully the Rainbow Warriors can build something as grand as their renderings show they want. Any trip to Hawaii would be a coveted game to take in, but this years match will be on a tiny field on the practice facility on the campus. Maybe another time.
9. New Mexico State
Ok. The Aggies stink. They played in the FCS last season due to Covid. But really they just don’t move the needle for any of us. BUT, they do rank high on this list for one reason alone. It’s the first game of the season of course. Time to get familiar with all the details of Dignity Health Sports Park. We will have more information on tailgating, eating & drinking spots around the stadium and much more in the near future, so stay tuned!
8. New Mexico
New Mexico took a swift tug at our heart strings when they got their payback and signed former Defensive Guru and one of THE best head coaches in San Diego State history, Roderick John Long Jr. The ol ball coach brings his 3-3-5 attack to face the Aztecs for the first time since stepping down and passing the keys of the Thunderbird to Brady Hoke. Unfortunately for all parties involved, this game will not be played in the house that Rocky helped build, but at the old Stubby. Nonetheless, it will be a must see game live to properly send some love to the man who built something special round here.
7. At San Jose State
Normally i would rank this matchup against the defending Mountain West Champs higher, but it is on the road in San Jose and on a Friday night. The easy travel makes it an attractive roadie and while the last game i viewed at Spartan Stadium was a thriller, this will most likely be a game i’ll be glued to a TV for. Perhaps a Sons of Monty Watch party on a Friday night is in order for this event.
6. Fresno State
After not being able to play last years contest due to Covid/contact tracing issues, the Old Oil Can will be up for grabs again. Every game vs the Bulldogs is a tough one. Head coach Kalen Deboer returns to the Valley and for sure this matchup will draw a solid contingent of barks from the stands. Aztecs Nation will need to represent in numbers as this game will almost be a halfway meeting point for both schools geographically. If there is any time to prove that San Diego football fans support their team it is this game.
5. At UNLV
UNLV gets to show off their brand new AirBnb rental stadium, Allegiant Stadium. The home of the Raiders is pretty impressive and well nothing stops us SDSU fans from assembling to take over Las Vegas quite like an Aztecs game. The prices for this game should be incredibly affordable for such a venue and the Raiders do play the Bengals the very next day so if you do plan on making this trip, travel accommodations should be made ASAP to lock in good rates. Either way, we look forward to adding Allegiant Stadium to the list of facilities taken over by Aztecs Nation. Hope to see you there.
This is where it gets tough
4. At Arizona
Undoubtedly this will be the road trip of the year. An early September Pac12 matchup in the desert was pretty good for us Aztecs last time. Although SDSU hasn’t had good luck vs UofA much, when there is a chance to play any team from the Pac12, it’s a good probability we come out victoriously lately. The Aztecs boast a 5-1 record since 2016 vs the Pac12. Ultimately this is our chance to show the Pac12 that SDSU not only belongs in their Soccer, Hoops and Baseball leagues for a long time now, but that football is up to par to be the most logical addition they could make.
And lucky for us we have TWO Pac12 matchups to measure ourselves against. The former Mountain West indigenous mascot having, red & black wearing, football Utes of the Salt Lake City come to Carson and challenge the Aztecs for bragging rights. If only 2019’s hoops beatdown the Aztecs put on the Utes at Staples Center could be a foreshadowing of how this game will be. But probably not likely. Utah is legit. They’ve been a constant force in the Pac12 despite never winning the conference outright. This primetime matchup on the 4th of September is a week following the UofA game, so this depending on those games results, this matchup in Carson could either catapult our Aztecas de San Diego to national hype or bury our heads deep within the dirt pile that was Qualcomm. From everything we’ve seen about Utah is that they are not settled in either of their QB or RB starting spots. But I wouldn’t rest my head on those uncertainties as Utah is consistently in the top half of recruiting in their Conference.
2. Boise State
When the Aztecs and Broncos meet on the gridiron it is always one of the most anticipated matchups in the Mountain West Conference…whenever it actually happens. One of the gripes I have about Boise State getting a sweetheart deal in TV revenue is that by playing in the Mountain Division they evade crucial Western division matchups during the season. Often to teams they normally struggle with. Both SDSU and Fresno State have put up consistent victories against the Broncos and last years Conference Championship featured a San Jose State team that absolutely owned Boise on their blue turf. Can’t do anything about it now, so let’s just focus on this end of the year matchup.
This has the potential to be the first of back to back games in a Conference Championship scenario a week later, if San Diego State can take care of division foes through-out the season. It will be interesting to see how Boise first time head coach Avalos performs this year and whether he can keep the Broncos in the Championship hunt by the time this game takes place. If both teams can be at the top of their divisions this matchup will be a Black Friday 9am morning treat for a national CBS TV audience. And for the Aztecs faithful who spent Thanksgiving watching SDSU hoops vs the Hoyas in the Wooden Legacy the night before in nearby Anaheim, a tremendous opportunity to cheers some breakfast burritos in the parking lot to a victory over Potato State.
I’ve learned to have this game circled on my season schedule for 3 years now. Because that’s how many wins in a row Nevada now has over our Aztecs. Tough to type that sentence. Last seasons game highlighted an impressive first half on national tv by Quarterback Lucas Johnson. Glimpses of his freakish athletic abilities had put the Aztecs in a good position to come out of Reno victorious, but an injury before the half plagued the rest of the season from that point on. Nevada returns two of the Conferences best offensive duos, QB Carson Strong and WR Romeo Dubbs. But for all their firepower the Wolfpack have been unable to win the Western Division. Could this be the year they finally get over the hump? Or will the Aztecs be able to play big and hold off the Wolfpack’s hopes for another year? The end of the year Boise State matchup will get all the hype, media attention and online trash talk, but if the Aztecs cannot take care of business and end this losing streak to Nevada, the game vs Boise by years end may not hold all the Championship possibilities that we all hope it will.