#73 – San Diego St. Aztecs 5-7 ATS
- Fargo’s Take The “Air” Craft experiment is history at San Diego St. as Chuck Long takes over the underachieving Aztecs. Long has coached some good programs at San Diego St. including a run of eight consecutive wins in the late 1980s. Even before that winning start, the Aztecs were good enough to have made the play-offs in both the polls and casinos. However, consistency was an issue. They reached double digit wins only twice in the 11 season history of the program. Long’s downfall was not being able to maximize the talent on both sides of ball. The Aztecs finished at a disappointing 5-7 ATS. Long certainly can ink the running game as being the best in the country but it will be up to the offense to exceed expectations, as an average of 59 ppg and just over two touchdowns are the way to go. The Aztecs don’t have an easy schedule and games against Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona are the first three games.
- Returning Starters on Offense – 5 Long used to be able to pick the wide receivers and running back on occasion. He has no such luxury now, which means the passing game must explode for the Aztecs to be successful this season. Long brings in a new style of offense to the table and he equates it to a huge margin for his team. Quarterback Kevin O’Connell had a spectacular season with over 2,000 yards passing while tossing eighteen touchdowns. He is not the only weapon on the Aztecs’ roster, as running back Lynell Hamilton rushed for 870 yards and a team leading 5.0 touchdowns. The problem for the Aztecs is that they did not replace their starting center, which the team had last year, to go with a sophomore. If O’Connell can continue to manage games without the ball, the Aztecs can compute what may happen in January.
Returning Starters on Defense – 8 If Long can get the running game going, the Aztecs will be all kinds of dangerous. They finished at 17th in the country in scoring defense last year and will be one of the best in the conference once again. Completely unproven defensive ends Josh Bullocks and Mario Henderson will make headlines, but the Aztecs were very solid in stopping the run and had a talented group of linebacker positioned to do so. Eight starters are back on the defense that goes into the season with the third best unit in the conference. This will ultimately be the biggest test yet for the Aztecs, as they are playing five teams in six days with home games against UAB, Oklahoma St. and Utah.
Schedule Don’t expect the Aztecs to be tested right out of the gate as they will play five consecutive road games following the opening week of the season. The real test will come in the middle of the schedule that takes place over the next month. The Aztecs have a doable non-conference schedule that features games against Fresno St., New Mexico, Nevada, North Texas, South Carolina and Tulane. They end the season with three home games against UNLV, Oregon St. and Kansas St. The beginning of the Big XII schedule takes place in Ames this year. Four of the final six games for the Aztecs will take place in Boise.
You can bet on… The decline of the program is hard to stomach in Reno.
- Whatever round they may finish in the Mountain West, there will be a decent amount of pain to go along with it. After going 0-4 ATS as an underdog in 2004, the Aztecs have gone 15-4 against the spread in their last 23 home games.
- However, the home conference games against Utah, TCU and New Mexico could all go either way. Even when the streak is over, the revenge factor will be for the raisers. This is easily the best environment in which to bet as the Aztecs have beaten the likes of Utah St. and TCU in impressive comebacks. If the defense can be even somewhat decent, the Aztecs can sneak up on the competition. They are 14-5 ATS as a home underdog under Longshore.
Continental Tournaments… Longshore made a name for himself in covering the slate of Colonial Athletic Association games for the national book, but it might be awhile before he can take his first trip to The depths.