2021 San Diego State Schedule: More Challenges than cakewalks
Ranking the Aztecs’ 2021 football schedule, and the road looks difficult.
After a mediocre 2020 campaign, the 2021 San Diego State Aztecs have their work cut out for them.
Their 2021 schedule has back-to-back Pac-12 opponents before diving into conference play, and really understanding their identity as an offense under Brady Hoke. Witnessing San Jose State take the West division and ultimately the entire conference championship, the Mountain West is up for grabs, and don’t assume San Diego State is in the driver’s seat right now.
Ranking the opponents from easiest to toughest starts with…
EASY (Towson, New Mexico State, New Mexico, UNLV)
Towson is a good warmup for San Diego State, and since they opted out of spring ball, there are going to be a lot of points on the Aztecs’ side of the ball. Then between the two New Mexico schools, NMSU already played in 2 FCS games earlier this spring and the other program has Rocky Long’s DNA. Though New Mexico plays gritty, their program has suffered from their state’s COVID restrictions and the program still has a long way to go. For the UNLV Rebels, one Vegas sportsbook their total win odds at 1.5. San Diego State rolls here.
MEDIUM (Fresno, San Jose State, Hawaii, Air Force)
The meat of the Mountain West is more competitive. After seeing San Jose State take it from Boise State, and then adding on the departure of Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin leave for Auburn, means the conference is wide open. For the Aztecs, we’re looking at a revenge spot here against San Jose State. The way the Spartans punched them in the mouth will get the Aztecs going again in 2021. Spartan QB Nick Nash didn’t light the Aztecs as much as Utah State but it’s on the Aztecs to run a complete game here. Fresno State has another year to get it together under head coach Kalen DeBoer, so unsure of what happens here. San Diego has another mid-season trip to Honolulu at their on-campus facility while their stadium issues are also playing out. Then when it comes to Air Force…SDSU has not lost to Air Force since 2009, which was their last away loss to Air Force. San Diego State has dominated the Falcons’ triple-option but struggled against the Army and Navy.
MEDIUM-HARD ( Nevada, Boise State, Arizona)
The toughest Mountain West outs for San Diego State will be against Nevada and Boise State. The Aztecs face the Wolfpack towards the end of the season at Reno, so there will be significant injuries by then. And with all the adjustments, it will be tough to keep up with returning starter Carson Strong who lit up the Aztecs in 2020. Then Boise State has hired Andy Avalos, former Bronco assistant coach from 2012-2019 and most recently defensive coordinator at Oregon, to take over at the smurf turf. This is where San Diego State has the personnel to overcome the Broncos, especially when they’re playing in Carson.
Then this Arizona matchup favors the Aztecs. In another matchup of new coaching personnel, Kevin Sumlin was fired after losing 70-7 to in-state rival AS. With the firing fresh in mind, 3-year starting QB Kevin Doyle entered the transfer portal, leaving the Wildcats looking for a new signal-caller. This all factors well for the Aztecs in their matchup in Tucson.
The toughest part of the schedule is the back-to-back Pac-12 opponents. Despite the above reasons for an Aztec win against the Wildcats, San Diego State doesn’t normally schedule their power-5 opponents like this. The last time SDSU had scheduled back-to-back Pac-12 opponents was in 2017 where they beat Herm Edwards’ Sundevils in Tempe and then beat Stanford in a stadium blackout the following week. This time, it’s a tougher task. Utah looks to be a strong competitor against USC for the Pac-12 south. The program returns its elite NFL prospect in linebacker Devin Lloyd and returns 19 total starters. And to get them a shot at a playoff spot, Grad-transfer Charlie Brewer (Baylor) has decided to spend his final year of eligibility in Salt Lake City. Brewer brings with him 9,700 yards passing with 65 TD, 28 INT, and 22 rushing TD in his career. The former Mountain West member is aiming for a Pac-12 championship and more.