Every week in the college football season ESPN College Gameday, the biggest most watched pre game show chooses a destination campus to host their ultra pep rally show at. With no game featuring two ranked opponents this past week, some SDSU fans lobbied that the ESPN show set up in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. The game would feature the 6-1 Falcons who were hosting the 6-0 Aztecs football team, who were the only undefeated West coast team and ranked #21 in the nation. The game featured the #1 rushing attack vs the #1 defense against the run. It was set to meet for a huge conference tilt and could’ve been a patriotic thing to do for all of the cadets and the surrounding areas.
But in typical ESPN fashion, they decided to go with the big name brand team. The unranked UCLA team—that previously lost to Mountain West’s Fresno State—were hosting Oregon—brought to you by Nike—at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
Immediately SDSU marketing department pulled themselves together and promoted that SDSU fans should make their voices heard and wave their banners high for the Best in the West team, your San Diego State Aztecs. So without a hesitation, Sons of Montezuma was there to answer the call. Creating signs, gathering our Aztecs flags and tying up our own Custom SOM flag to our poles, we packed up the ride and headed north to the campus of Westwood to represent our Aztecs.
By the time the show started early Saturday morning, we arrived at the UCLA campus before the sunrise could. It was a drizzly damp morning but that didn’t stop passionate college football fans from all over from making their appearance. Our small group of Aztecs connected and saw fans from all over like: Clemson, Duke, SMU, Fresno State, Illinois, Washington State, Oregon, and more. It was a good energy there on the campus plaza and everyone was friendly.
Once the sun started to peek through a little bit through the overcast skies, the flood of social media came in. Sons of Monty and others made the Aztecs logo visible on TV and the signs accomplished their goal.
One of the coolest TV visuals was right after the special Brady Hoke mic’d up segment where ESPN displayed how SDSU has been THE California football team of the past 6 seasons, with a better winning percentage and total higher than Stanford, USC, UCLA and Cal Berkeley. These talking points and visuals cannot be highlighted enough. SDSU truly is no longer a sleeping giant.
These kind of facts have long been the ammunition the Sons of Montezuma have used to fire back at PAC-12 elitist and SDSU non-believers, but to see ESPN the powerful College football engine have to report the actual facts of the San Diego State programs success in the Western region, felt like a battle won.
But it didnt stop there. The great aspect of ESPN’s College gameday was yet to come. The pick’em section where a regional celebrity or school legion of the host is chosen to help add some authenticity to the show and give their best educated guesses on who will win for some of the top games of the day. Well to SDSU’s benefit, the legendary UCLA basketball great, San Diego native and Aztecs graduate parent, the incomparable Bill Walton was the man of the hour.
Once we found out Bill was the chosen celebrity picker, we knew SDSU would get some major love if our game vs the Air Force was to be in the lineup. And sure enough, when it came time for Bill to pick between the Monsters on the Mesa or the Academy, it was a no doubter. We were able to say our thanks to Bill after the show had ended and he was appreciative of us SDSU fans making the trip.
You can view all the College Gameday festivities from the Sons of Montezuma perspective and even our combined SDSU victory highlights over Air Force below on our special highlights video.
After the mornings eventful day, it was time to head back down to San Diego and prepare to watch our Aztecs play Air Force at the usual McGregors Ale House near the Stadium in Mission Valley. There we met other long time Aztecs fans, cheered, stressed out in the 2nd half together and then exchanged stories of Aztecs years past together.
While some may have doubted whether a trip to LA for the event was a good idea or worth their time, we can proudly notch this day as a W for the home team. And of course it never hurts to have our team actually keep winning to add an emphatic punctuation to the days journey up and down the Southern California coast. Now if only our fanbase will actually show up for the biggest game of the season, a home contest vs rival Fresno State. You know we will! Go Aztecs!