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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego State’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 74: San Diego State

    Rocky Long knew what he was doing when he traded in one head coaching job, at New Mexico, for an assistant job in the same league. In Long’s estimation, he’d topped out with the Lobos; if he wasn’t getting out when the getting was good, he was getting out when the getting wasn’t as bad as it would become – and it would get bad awfully quick in Albuquerque. When he left U.N.M. late in 2008, Long was gambling that someday, this one step backward would result in two steps forward. He picked the right stop: Long hitched his wagon to a fast-riser in Brady Hoke, knowing that his new connection would either result in a coordinator title and coordinator payday at a major B.C.S. conference stop or, perhaps, a second shot at running his own show on the non-B.C.S. conference level. Better yet – and this is how it played out – Long could reap the benefits of Hoke’s steady work, taking over a program in San Diego State that could have coached itself into bowl play a season ago.

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      Tigers Go as Far as Fuente Takes Them

      Memphis isn’t the only team looking to reverse a recent slide heading into 2012, and the Tigers certainly aren’t the only team that has attempted to do so over the last five years. Last fall, 13 teams lost 10 or more games; of the 13, seven made a coaching change either during last season or shortly thereafter. At least 10 teams have suffered double-digit losses in each of the last five years, including six – Memphis, U.N.L.V., New Mexico, North Texas, Washington State and Idaho – who have done so at least three times. So Justin Fuente and Memphis aren’t alone.

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        In Case of an “Unresolved Tie” in the M.W.C.

        A quick housecleaning tidbit. Last Friday’s breakdown of the Mountain West’s 2012 schedule included one still-unanswered question: What are the league’s procedures when it comes to a two-way tie atop the final conference standings among teams that don’t play in the regular season? The question was raised because the M.W.C. has 10 teams but will play an eight-game conference schedule. Therefore, a handful of would-be contenders — I cited Boise State and Air Force as one example — won’t meet during in conference play. So it’s possible, if fairly unlikely, that the final Mountain West standings could find the Broncos and Falcons, or Hawaii and Wyoming, tied for first at 8-0 in conference play.

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          For One Last Time, the M.W.C. Schedule

          It’s the end of the Mountain West as we know it, but not just yet. Come 2013, the league formerly known as the Mountain West and the league formerly known as Conference USA will merge, creating one awkwardly-named super conference. Super in size, at least. But the Mountain West will still exist in its current, non-Conference USA-affiliated form for this coming season, albeit with its own slight degree of awkwardness. Boise State and San Diego State will play out the string in the Mountain West before taking their wares to the Big East in 2013. A few of Boise’s former pals from the WAC will join the fold, but it’ll be a short-lived reunion.

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            The Aztecs Get Help From the Pac-12

            Consider the losses that San Diego State has experienced on the offensive side of the ball over the six months. Push it back to the last 12 months, in fact, and take into account the loss of all-Mountain West wide receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, each of whom exhausted their eligibility following the 2010 season. Late in July, the Aztecs’ receiver corps lost would-be lead target Dominique Sandifer to a knee injury, robbing the group of its most experienced and game-tested option. Who stepped up? Sophomores: Colin Lockett and Dylan Denso helped fill the void, along with underrated tight end Gavin Escobar, allowing the San Diego State passing game to keep humming along as one of the Mountain West’s best.

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              How’s Your Team’s Succession Plan?

              Boise State did it better than most. Kellen Moore won’t soon be forgotten — most of all in Boise — but Chris Petersen began preparing for life post-Moore by playing his backup, sophomore Joe Southwick, in eight games: mostly in mop-up duty, though Southwick was used in certain packages when the final verdict remained in doubt. San Diego State did it worse than most. Redshirt freshman Ryan Dingwell, Ryan Lindley’s backup, attempted only one pass all season, in the season opener against Cal Poly, and didn’t take another snap until the win over New Mexico a month later. Then Dingwell went back to the shelf, along with the cobwebs and other little-used reserves.

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                The Year in Review: S.D.S.U. (8-5, 4-3)

                San Diego State hired Rocky Long for the purpose of continuity, that catch-all word that works only for winners, not losers. Because who wants to continue a program’s losing ways, right? Long inherited — and this is surprising — a winner at San Diego State, which has, or had, long been one of the nation’s most underachieving programs. Few did less with more: smack-dab in the middle of Southern California, S.D.S.U. should always be the destination of choice for recruits who either can’t get an offer from a U.S.C., U.C.L.A. and the like or, for one reason or another, needs to leave a U.S.C., U.C.L.A. and the like.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.