The SDSU Aztecs of 2017 are enjoying a terrific 9-2 season in which they went 2-0 against the Pac-12, successfully finished developing a star running back (who is headed for a 2000-yard campaign) and were blessed by playing in a soft division. Friday is Senior Day and weather will be pitch-perfect along the beach.
There’s only one problem. San Diego State lost to the only other strong program in its division, Fresno State, 27-3 in an embarrassing drubbing a few weeks ago. It didn’t take the Bulldogs long to demonstrate that they would hold their lead in the standings. As of now, the Aztecs are out.
But it’s not as if the team hasn’t responded well to the downer. Following the Fresno State loss, the squad made an impressive road trip – er, air trip – to Hawaii and won 28-7, and proceeded to clobber MWC also-rans San Jose State and Nevada.
What’s more, SDSU’s opponent on Senior Day may have a larger issue with motivation and focus.
Who: New Mexico Lobos at San Diego State Aztecs
When: Friday, November 24th, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Lines: NMU (+20) at SDSU (-20) / O/U Total: (48)
Our policy is to avoid politics at BetFirm…until they interfere with a reader’s gamble. The Lobos are one of the sadder stories of 2017, since the program has shown such promise under Bob Davie over the past couple of seasons. When New Mexico whipped Tulsa and Air Force to go to 3-2, it seemed like a winning campaign was at hand.
But before game 6 against Fresno State, Davie made a curious fence-straddling statement when responding to a flag-kneeling protest by one of his student-athletes. Whichever side the head coach was going to take, he needed to take one. The resulting media uproar caused chaos in the program, and the Lobos blew any chance at making noise in the Mountain West by losing to Wyoming and Colorado State. NMU has now lost 6 games in a row and is out of bowl contention.
Weapons in the ground game like Tyrone Owens and Lamar Jordan will keep the Lobos in it against San Diego State. The question is, for how long? At some point, the Aztecs will shut them down. As for the hosts’ offense, they racked up around 500 yards by ground and air last week against Nevada. Christian Chapman could stand to be more aggressive passing the ball, because New Mexico doesn’t have the defense to stop him.
We’re liking the Aztecs against the spread, but an even stronger bet is the over (48). New Mexico’s tricky playbook will either score points or blow up in the visitors’ faces early-on. That will lead to more total points in the 1st half.
If SDSU gets all the early breaks, the hosts will go up 35-0 and then make all kinds of senior-backup substitutions in garbage time. If New Mexico gets them, expect a big 2nd-half rally from a proud offense on their Senior Day.
In either scenario, the over is a winner.