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Phil Steele places San Diego State in Top 40

College Football Guru Phil Steele has San Diego State ranked 38th in his top 40.

RB Lucky Radley getting the crowd hype during Poinsettia Bowl in Nov. 2014
RB Lucky Radley getting the crowd hype during Poinsettia Bowl in Nov. 2014
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Steele has the San Diego State Aztecs in his top 40 projections, currently making the Aztecs the only Mountain West team revealed in his countdown. Steele has the Aztecs 38th in his top 40 countdown ahead of Cincinnati and Mississippi State.

Steele suggests starting Maxwell Smith will bring back the passing attack not seen since Ryan Lindley was connecting to DeMarco Sampson and Vincent BrownThis year's depth at wide receiver supports Steele's argument for Maxwell Smith succeeding at San Diego State.

The Aztecs are also Steele’s favorite to win the West division of the Mountain West and predicts double-digit wins in 2015. Glancing at San Diego State’s schedule there is a optimism for double digit wins, especially with a weak West division, favorable opponents like San Diego and South Alabama, and not having Boise State. The toughest scheduled opponents seem to be California and Penn State as the Aztecs have not fared well against any school from the Power 5 conferences.

The expectations are also high for San Diego State players. Steele has 15 Aztecs in his preseason All-Mountain West Team, five of which are preseason first-team. And there is a lot of praise for the defensive side of the ball.

Optimism aside, Steele has some interesting insights into the 2015 Aztecs such as continued improvement on the offensive line even though the offensive line starts three new lineman. There will be growing pains and keeping the quarterback upright and finding holes for the running back is the key to winning ten-plus games.

Stringing together double-digit wins this season would encourage the growth and success of the San Diego State program and as Phil Steele has noted-- the last double-digit winning season was last achieved in 1971.