Game 5: September 29 vs.
The Bearcats hit the road for the second time in game five. This trip is
a little longer including a 5 hour flight, but I can't think of a better place
to land than
This game has quite a few potential traps for UC. The long flight, a team
that on paper looks to be very beatable, and UC's next game is the
SDSU is coached by former Iowa Hawkeye great Chuck Long who took over in 2006. Long came to San Diego after spending 7 years at Oklahoma working for Bob Stoops, the last 4 years as the offensive coordinator.
Coach Long's first season at the helm proved to be a trying one as the
Aztecs managed but 3 wins, an important note is that each of the wins came at
home against Mountain West opponents. In their losses (which include a
Homecoming loss to Cal Poly) the Aztecs where generally beaten badly, they
didn't score much and didn't stop many. But, in their only shot at a BCS school
they held their own at
One of the reasons for the 2006 Aztec meltdown was injuries; this squad was decimated especially on offense. Seven offensive starters missed either part or all of 2006 with serious injuries including quarterback Kevin O'Connell who missed 6 games because of a thumb injury. With 10 offensive starters back and healthy the Aztec offense should see significant improvement in 2007.
With one problem solved on offense, Coach Long will have to find a way to replace 8 defensive starters. Returning are DT Ornan Nwansi, WLB Brett Martin, and SLB Russell Allen. All 4 spots in the defensive backfield will be first year starters. Four first year starters at DB versus a Brian Kelly offense, this will be a challenge but the group will have 3 games under their belt.
Why UC will win the Game?
This game worries me more than any thus far, this is a classic trap game for
a team looking ahead.
Dave Berk: Despite traveling across the country for this one, the Bearcats will be favored to win. While no-one is really looking at San Diego State as a powerhouse team they will be a dangerous foe for Brian Kelly's crew. For a Bearcats win they must control the Aztecs offense and keep their poor defense on the field for a long day. This could be a high scoring game as Chuck Long does have some offensive weapons to call upon. Mike Mickens must be on his A-Game as he'll be pitted against some very good receivers. The defensive front must be able to keep the running game in check as Lynell Hamilton has NFL talent. The Bearcats can win this game as they head into Big East Conference play staring at a Rutgers teams looking to give a little payback.
What does SDSU have to do to win?
SDSU will need to shorten the game by controlling the ball and moving the chains
with running and short to intermediate passing. Keep the
Dave Berk: The Aztecs are not as bad as their 3-9 record from last season. This team played Wisconsin hard coming up on the losing end 14-0. Chuck Long saw his first year at San Diego State be one of struggle as injuries as well as learning a new system caused problems. California has a ton of college talent and Long will be able to tap into this pool and build a solid program in the Mountain West. If the Aztecs can find their defense and hold Brian Kelly's spread attack in-check they will win because they've got enough offensive talent to score with anyone. Add in the travel and scenes many of the Bearcats have never seen and you can see why Brian Kelly will be on top of his team during the week.
Doug's Prediction: UC wins a tough one 27 – 17. Coach Long will have his team prepared and will execute a strong game plan but UC fire power and defense will win.
Dave's Prediction: Dave's Prediction: Bearcats enjoy the sun and surf but return with a hard-fought 27-24 victory as the defense makes two key plays in securing the victory.
Doug Goodwin: Whenever anyone says that UC attendance problems are because we are in a professional sports town with the NFL and MLB please pull out these stats on San Diego State.
Ø SDSU does not play on their campus, they use Qualcomm
Ø SDSU has been to 8 bowl games in it's history, the last in 1998
Ø SDSU plays in the Mountain West Conference – Non BCS
Ø SDSU has a history of being average to poor
Ø SDSU recently has been bad, no winning seasons in last 8 years
Ø SDSU average attendance for the past 3 season is over 29,000
Dave Berk: Chuck Long was on the fast track to a head coaching job as he helped Oklahoma put together some high-powered offensives. By taking the SDSU job he surprised many as they felt he'd end up at a BCS program much like Brian Kelly. Long's learn the hard way things can change and make life as a college coach a tough one. As a former quarterback (Iowa) and college assistant Long knows California has a deep talent pool to tap and San Diego can be a player coming out of the Mountain West. The Aztecs have not enjoyed a bowl game since 1991 while struggling to be competitive but with Long in control they'll be a program to keep a serious eye on in the future. Look for Long to turn the program maybe even this season and then have to look at making SDSU a stepping stone for another job.