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San Diego State

College Football

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San Diego State won another MWC championship last year and even with only 12 returning starters, is one of the favorites to win it again in 2017 (+100 to win MWC at 5Dimes Sportsbook). The Aztecs remain the team to beat in the West division with only one other team (Hawaii) having a non-losing record in conference play last year. Entering his seventh season, Rocky Long continues to reload his squad.

The biggest glaring hole for the SDSU offense is on the line where four experienced starters are gone. Antonio Rosales is great at right guard, but three underclassmen are slated to start, which could be problematic in the early going. Either way, not many are doubting this offense that scored 35.2 points per game, even with running back Donnel Pumphrey gone. Speedster Rashaad Penny (1,005 yards, 11 TDs, 7.4 ypc) is expected to come right in and see a ton of carries for the Aztecs. Combine that with a more experienced Christian Chapman (20 TDs, 6 INTs) at quarterback and this team will be fine. The question is if Long will ask Chapman to throw a little more. Top receivers Mikah Holder (581 yards, 5 TDs) and David Wells (294 yards, 4 TDs) return, so Penny may not be asked to carry the ball 350 times like Pumphrey was.

The defense only returns six starters, but a lot of the non-starters have experience after the Aztecs dealt with injuries last year. Still, they managed to hold opponents to a solid 20.2 points per game. It’s a question to which players will actually step up with some top guys gone, but safety Parker Baldwin is a known commodity in the secondary along with Kameron Kelly and Trey Lomax. The front seven may also have fewer playmakers, but end Noble Hall and linebacker Ronley Lakalaka are two of the better names in the conference and still only juniors.

San Diego State could lose a couple non-conference games early with Arizona State and Stanford on the schedule. And right after those games, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if Air Force put up a good fight in their MWC opener, especially on the road. Other than that, the Aztecs get to host Boise State, while the road schedule is mostly manageable. Sure, the Aztecs have to travel to their biggest competition in the West in UNLV, Hawaii and San Jose State, but unless something really changes, they should come away from those games with wins.

Due to a tougher non-conference, San Diego State could be looking at an eight or nine-win regular season before the MWC title game and bowl. The Aztecs may get a tougher test in the title game this year, but this team will be aiming for at least nine wins again ahead of the postseason.


2017 San Diego State Aztecs Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. UC Davis
Sept. 9 at Arizona State

Sept. 16 vs. Stanford
Sept. 23 at Air Force

Sept. 30 vs. Northern Illinois
Oct. 7 at UNLV
Oct. 14 vs. Boise State

Oct. 21 vs. Fresno State
Oct. 28 at Hawaii
Nov. 4 at San Jose State
Nov. 18 vs. Nevada
Nov. 24 vs. New Mexico

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