Cincinnati and San Diego State: It Makes More Sense Than UC-BSU, Right?


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Today you’re getting a double-dose of Bearcats football. Aren’t you lucky. What’s that you say? Football’s over and it’s basketball season, numbnuts? Hogwash. Football is a year-long sport here at Bearcats Nation. So, next up in the series breaking down Cincinnati’s future opponents is San Diego State University. Like the Boise State Broncos, the Aztecs will only be moving its football-program to the Big East. The rest of their sports will be dropped in the Big West Conference. But more on the athletics in a moment. First to the school itself.

The Basics

San Diego State University, like most urbanesq schools in the Big East, takes the name of the city in which it is located. When you think of SDSU, pristine images like this or this probably cross your mind. Seriously, though, why do I live in the Midwest? Anyways, while the school’s administration would like you to think of this when projecting its school’s image, more often than not scenes like these come to mind when picturing San Diego State. True the university hasn’t been among the Top-10 since 2009 according to Playboy of all sources as schools like the University of Western Ontario have since nudged them off the list (but for completely different reasons). Frankly, I don’t care what Hugh Heffner says. San Diego State is a party school that even the folks in Oxford and Athens can appreciate. Keep in mind, this was the main appeal for John Marinatto to add SDSU to the Big East. What can I say? The guy loves his beer pong.

Even though San Diego State is an appealing destination to vacation or visit college buddies, the Big East was also interested in San Diego State’s media market. Like Houston, San Diego is a Top-50 television market. 28th in fact boasting a little over a million TV households. That’s a lot of inventory to add to a potential Big East Network. Moving on, one of the reasons they are only joining as football-only is because, like Boise State, other Big East schools don’t want to have to pay to fly their non-football sports out there for away games. This doesn’t just include basketball, but baseball, volleyball, swimming & diving, what-have-you. For football games however this is an easy flight from Cincinnati as San Diego is a major city and like all major cities has a sizable airport. If you can’t get a direct flight into town, you might have to make a layover in, say, Salt Lake City or Las Vegas which isn’t too bad. Actually, scratch that. Look for the one-stop flights, first. Vegas is awesome.

San Diego State Football

Like I said, the Aztecs are only joining the Big East in football. It’s a shame too because SDSU boasts a very good basketball program under coach Steve Fisher who has posted 20+ win seasons in each of the past six years and even a 34-win season last year. In addition SDSU has a very good baseball program that has been the stepping-stone of the Gwynn family (as in Tony Gwynn) and 2009’s #1 overall pick in the MLB draft Stephen Strasburg. Unfortunately, travel issues means the Big East won’t benefit from getting a boost from both of these programs.

But back to football. San Diego State has a long history of having NFL coaches pass through their doors such as John Madden, Brian Billick, and Sean Payton. Four Super Bowl-winning coaches have actually spent time at SDSU. That’s very impressive. Successful coaches make a successful team and the Aztecs prove this true. The football program has been playing since 1921 and since that first game has posted a record of 487-389-32 (55%). Most recently coach Brady Hoke, who is now with Michigan, breathed life into a program that hadn’t been to a bowl game in 10 years. With his efforts, the Aztecs made some appearances on the national scene and surely jump-started SDSU’s move into a BCS conference.

The Aztecs call Qualcomm Stadium home. While they have a solid relationship with their landlord the San Diego Chargers, there have been rumblings of SDSU building a stadium of their own since they tore down the on-campus Aztec Bowl in exchange for the Viejas Arena (a la Pitt). The stadium currently seats about 70,000 and would be by far the largest venue in the Big East.

The Cincinnati-San Diego State Relationship

They played a football game once! And someone filmed it!

This is the

only match-up

in which the Bearcats and Aztecs have ever hooked up. In Brian Kelly’s first season at the helm, his high-powered offense had surged Cincinnati to a 5 – 0 start and #24 ranking in the polls. Led by Benny “Heisman” Mauk, the Bearcats torched the Aztecs in a

52 – 23 route

. Mauk threw for four touchdowns, two each to Dominick Goodman and Marcus Barnett. The Bearcats rushed for 263 yards in the game as Greg Moore and Butler Benton led the way. Tony Pike even made an appearance in the game and the sophomore at the time threw for just 27 yards and a pair of interceptions. Who would have known this was the guy to lead the Bearcats to two-straight BCS games in the following years.

While Cincinnati and San Diego State don’t have the strongest history together, a New Big East opens up the opportunity to generate some good games together all-be-it only on the football field.

Welcome, Aztecs!

In case you missed the other posts in this series, I’ve got you covered:

[Cincinnati and Houston: It’s About Time They Starting Playing Each Other Again]

[Cincinnati and Boise State: There’s a Connection There. Probably]