We wrap up the West Division previews by talking about the overwhelming favorite to win the division and should be the favorite to repeat as conference champions.
San Diego State ended last year on a 10-game winning streak and was rarely challenged during that stretch. The one game that was close was the conference title game where they edged Air Force, 27-24.
The Aztecs bring back nearly every key player including the reigning conference offensive player of the year in RB Donnel Pumphrey, special teams player of the year in Rashaad Penny and defensive player of the year in DB Damontae Kazee.
They also return six players who earned first-team honors, so they are loaded. One position they are replacing is at quarterback with Christian Chapman taking over for Maxwell Smith. While Smith was not a quarterback who was one who would tear up a defense, but the Aztecs didn’t need him to.
Where he excelled at was not turning over the ball where he had just two interceptions last year. Chapman appeared in the final two-plus games as he took over for Smith who tore his ACL, and proceeded to complete 23 for 34 for 436 yards with a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The non-conference schedule is not difficult as they host Cal, go on the road to face South Alabama, travel to Northern Illinois and host New Hampshire. They miss Air Force, Boise State and New Mexico from the Mountain Division.
Overall, their strength of schedule is not earth-shattering but not all their fault, especially with the way the league rotates cross-division games. All that matters if the Aztecs want to make it to the New Year’s Six bowl game they more than likely need to be undefeated, but a 12-1 loss Aztecs team could get in to a big time bowl game.
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