Early look at San Diego State's 2014 football schedule

Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Here is a very early look at the Aztecs '14 football schedule.

In the 2013 season the San Diego State Aztecs got off to a rough start; in fact, it was their worst start to the season since 2008. In that 2008 season they started 0-3 and finished out a disappointing 2-10.

Head Coach Rocky Long and his San Diego State Aztecs are looking to have a big football year in 2014. San Diego State is looking to make its fifth straight bowl game, three of which came under Long.

In 2013 they started out 0-3 before finishing the season 7-5.

First, they dropped their first game of the when they hosted Eastern Illinois at home 40-19. This would be, then dubbed starting quarterback, Adam Dingwell's first and last start of the season.

With new starter Quinn Kahler, troubles continued on the road when they dropped consecutive games against No. 3 ranked Ohio State (42-7) and un-ranked Oregon State (34-30).

It was not until the fourth game of the season against a Mountain West Conference rival, the New Mexico State Aggies, that the Aztecs were able to grab their first win. The win did not come easy though. The Aztecs rallied late in the fourth quarter putting up 15 unanswered points to finish out the game 26-16. I think everyone can remember Donnel Pumphrey's three touchdowns that game.

In the final eight games of the season the Aztecs finished strong going 6-2. One of the losses came in overtime to then no. 15 ranked Fresno State.

They ended up playing against Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, a game in which they dominated 49-24.

The 2014 campaign has to be different if the Aztecs want to see another conference title like they did in 2012.

The first three games of the season are as follows:

Sat., Aug. 30 -- Northern Arizona

Sat., Sept. 6 -- at North Carolina

Sat., Sept. 20 -- at Oregon State

Northern Arizona's game should be an easy win for the Aztecs... knock on wood. The Lumberjacks finished the season overall 9-3; however, they play in the Big Sky Conference. A conference that is not very competitive.

North Carolina's game will be close; however the Aztecs should come out on top. North Carolina finished out the season an even 6-6. There best games were against Miami where they almost beat the no. 10 ranked Miami Hurricanes and when they almost beat no. 24 ranked Duke.

The first real test will be when they play at Oregon State against the Beavers. The Beavers started out the 2013 season 6-1, but then dropped five games in a row to close out the season. The last five games they dropped came all to top 25 ranked teams. (Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon). The Beavers are going to be looking for a big bounce back season and will look for a quick win over the Aztecs. If the Aztecs can come out with a win over Oregon State, then they will set their sights on revenge when they face Fresno State.

The rest of the season is as follows:

at., Sept. 27 -- UNLV

Sat., Oct. 4 -- at Fresno State

Sat., Oct. 11 -- at New Mexico

Sat., Oct. 18 -- Hawaii

Sat., Nov. 1 -- at Nevada

Sat., Nov. 8 -- Idaho

Sat., Nov. 15 -- at Boise State

Sat., Nov. 22 -- Air Force

Sat., Nov. 29 -- San Jose State

Fresno State's game marks the first of many Mountain West Conference games the Aztecs will play in 2014. Last year they nearly beat the Bulldogs, all they had to do was a kick a field goal to win the game against the no. 15 ranked team. But SDSU had kicker problems and that is a whole other story. Look for the Aztecs to set the bar early for themselves in the Fresno State game. Expect another overtime thriller.

If the Aztecs can shed their sluggish start from last season, they have a legitimate chance of winning the Mountain West Conference title. A title that head coach Rocky Long would love to bring back to San Diego.

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