Earlier this week USA Today proclaimed San Diego State a contender for a New Year’s Six bowl game. Normally this time of year pundits outside of the Mountain West push Boise State to the top of their Group of 5 picks. It seems like San Diego State came out on top based on personnel, the dominance of the Mountain West and the old school pro-style offense.
USA Today noted that the Aztecs personnel are one of their strengths. The Aztecs return 14 starters specifically naming Calvin Munson, Damontae Kazee, and Heisman-hopeful Donnel Pumphrey. San Diego State is the only team in the country to sweet offensive, defensive, and special teams players of the year. This is true about the Aztecs and this year's returners can improve on their play and test their leadership in the locker room.
San Diego State did dominate the Mountain West Conference in a terrible down year for the West division and pulled out a win against Air Force and the triple-option. San Diego State was efficient and dangerous, and with an unstoppable running game, they deserved at the least a Power 5 school in the Hawaii Bowl.
It will be interesting to see where the Aztecs start their 2016 season. The Aztecs play FCS New Hampshire, Cal, Northern Illinois, and South Alabama in non-conference. They are all winnable games, but San Diego State still hasn’t proven themselves against the Power 5 schools. As for the Mountain West, it might be San Diego State's by mid October.
Rocky Long has built a program on San Diego State that prides themselves on hard work and focus. The players have all bought in and they understand they have a chance to push the Aztecs football program to another level. It’s healthy San Diego State and the Mountain West to see some looks from the national media.