Like, oh my God! The Aztecs are sucking to the extreme and totally want to make me barf. It's mega ridiculous how a team with mondo talent can be like so ooglay that it makes you want to smack your own momma. Like gag me out the door already!
Whoa there, what's up with this 80s slang? Well, I'm in an 1980s mood, groovin to some Eddie Murphy and watching a bit of those crazy Brat Pack kids. Either Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club, I can't remember the name. But I'm also reminiscing about the last time San Diego State was actually good in football. That was in the decade of the 80s, small government, Wall Street, coke and the Soviet Empire. Pong was a hit and a few horny older ladies were dominating the television. Ok, so the 1970s were far better to the Aztecs than the 80s, but it was still a decade where San Diego football hadn't cemented itself as one of the worst programs out west. That changed in the 1990s and continues today.
But, as most Aztec fans remind us, it wasn't always that bad. In fact up until around the late 80s, Aztec football was pretty decent, if not at least average. It started with Don Coryell in 1961 and essentially ended with Al Luginbill in 1993. That was a span of 33 years and during that span, the Aztecs won 60% of their games -- 29th best in the nation. Since, San Diego State has only won 43% of their games -- 84th best in the nation. Ouch.
So what in the hell happened to Aztec football? Well I can't answer that, but I'm sure some Aztecs fans can. But what I do know is that since the Mountain West Conference was formed in 1999, San Diego State has routinely had some of the best talent in the league. And why shouldn't they? I mean it's San Diego! If anyone has ever been to San Diego, you would see why any recruit would be stupid to not want to play there. It's got the perfect climate, is close to the beach and is astonishingly beautiful. Yet San Diego State hasn't played in a bowl game since 1998 and haven't won one in 38 years. It's also been nearly 10 years since the Aztecs last winning season, which was a 7-5 campaign in 1998 (a bowl loss to North Carolina).
With all the talent San Diego State has -- 21 players in the NFL -- they should be producing more than 4 wins a season (the Aztecs average since the MWC formed). But they aren't and it appears that once again this will be the case in 2007. But why? I really have no answer. Maybe it's the lack of coaching, or the fact San Diego State just does not have enough talent to be competitive. While they are constantly one of the better recruiting teams, how much of that talent actually goes toward depth? And if it doesn't, are the Aztecs playing players that would be best suited for the University of San Diego (D1-AA) as opposed to San Diego State? That could be the underlying problem with SDSU, their inability to recruit enough depth to make that leap toward the top of the conference.
It also doesn't help that San Diego State fails to employ a philosophy that best suits their strengths. Programs like New Mexico, who have been ok in the conference, mask their lack of talent by stingy defensive play and by winning in the trenches. Utah did the same thing in the 90s under McBride, and then went with the radical spread offense under Meyer that catapulted them into a BCS bowl game. The Aztecs run a pretty conservative offense and seem to not have recruited to play a hard nosed, slam them to the turf type of defense. Which is a surprise, at least the former, since Chuck Long was hired to bring in an explosive offense and last year watched as the Aztecs averaged only 270 yards and 14 points a game. For being such an offensive mastermind, his offense sure looked terrible. But then again Tom Craft was brought in back in 2001 to turn around the Aztecs offensive woes. He had even earned the moniker of "Air Craft" for his airing out philosophy, yet it did little in wins and even less in rebuilding the program. Craft was fired after a 5-7 season in 2005.
For whatever reason, San Diego State just has not been able to get it done. I think, with their location and talent, they would be best served by going to a gimmick style offense, which might throw teams off enough to build something down there. Of course, what Craft ran was supposed to revive them also and it didn't come close to living up to expectations. But the current offense is not cutting it and won't cut it in the future. Especially since San Diego State hasn't been known for their defense in quite some time.