San Diego State is bowl-eligible for 13th straight year, but where is SDSU headed? Here’s a best guess, though situation is fluid until Dec. 4 selection show
San Diego State is focused on finishing the regular season strong in its Mountain West game against Air Force.
SDSU (7-4, 5-2 MW) and the Falcons (8-3, 4-3) meet Saturday at 6 p.m. at Snapdragon Stadium.
But that hasn’t stopped speculation from swirling on where the Aztecs will conclude the season.
Where are they going bowling?
It has been two weeks since SDSU earned its sixth win and became bowl eligible for the 13th straight season.
The Aztecs’ bowl destination has not become apparent since then, and it may not become much more clear in the next two weeks leading up to the Dec. 4 reveal.
National projections have SDSU going all over the place, often without regard to reality.
The Athletic has SDSU in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl against Toledo.
One problem: The Aztecs already played Toledo this season, and bowl organizers avoid rematches at all costs.
SportsIllustrated.com has SDSU going to the Frisco Bowl against Appalachian State.
Another problem: The Aztecs played in the Frisco Bowl last year and bowl organizers also are loathe to bring teams two years in a row (and a third time in five years).
CollegeFootballNews.com has the Aztecs going to the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl against Buffalo.
CBSSports.com has the Aztecs going to the Hawaii Bowl against Middle Tennessee.
Both the Hawaii and Arizona bowls seem unlikely based on information detailed below.
The Union-Tribune, after considering where other MW teams are likely headed, is projecting SDSU for the New Mexico Bowl.
Even with much consideration on the matter, predictions should be written in pencil rather than pen because of the extremely fluid nature of the process.
Here are some details entering the final weekend of the regular season:
Current situation: So far, 74 teams are bowl eligible, leaving eight openings for the 82 available spots in 41 bowl games.
Bowl eligible teams from the Mountain West: Air Force (8-3), Boise State (8-3), Fresno State (7-4), San Diego State (7-4), San Jose State (6-4), Utah State (6-5), Wyoming (7-4).
Also eyeing eligibility: UNLV (4-7) needs to beat Nevada for a fifth win. If there are not enough six-win teams to fill all the bowls, then the Rebels could get in at 5-7.
Mountain West bowl tie-ins: New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 17, vs. C-USA), Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl (Dec. 17, vs. Pac-12), Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 20, vs. MAC; Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24, vs. AAC); Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl (Dec. 30, vs. MAC).
MW backup agreement: Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Dec. 27 vs. Big Ten or Big 12). This is off the table since both conferences have plenty of qualifying teams.
According to a Mountain West spokesman, there also is a guaranteed spot in an ESPN Events game. This would likely be a bowl in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area, but could be another ESPN-owned bowl that fits the network’s matchup desires.
With seven bowl eligible teams, the Mountain West must find landing spots for two teams outside its primary tie-ins.
Bowl pecking order: Boise State and Fresno State will play in Boise on Dec. 3 in the Mountain West championship game.
The Mountain West champion goes to the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, as long as that team is not invited to a New Years Six game (this year’s AAC champion will get the Group of 5 slot).
The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl has the second choice and could be expected to take the MW runnerup. SDSU could potentially be attractive because of its proximity, though the Aztecs had issues last year with the game’s title sponsor.
Other eligible teams are distributed among the Hawaii, Famous Idaho Potato and New Mexico bowls in consultation between the conference and bowl partners.
Consideration is given to matchup, proximity to the venue and history (how recently did team appear there).
SDSU last played in the New Mexico Bowl in 2019 and the Hawaii Bowl in 2015. The Aztecs haven’t played in the Potato Bowl since 2013. They did play at Boise State and New Mexico during the regular season, although that is not a deal breaker.
With its proximity, Utah State profiles best for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Hawaii Bowl is believed to favor San Jose State. Simple explanation — the Spartans’ quarterback is Chevan Cordeiro, a Honolulu native who starred three years at Hawaii before transferring to San Jose State.
This points SDSU toward Albuquerque, though it would not be surprising for the Aztecs to end up somewhere else altogether as ESPN wags the dog.
SDSU’s bowl assignment has been outside the Mountain West’s primary tie-ins in three of the Aztecs’ past four appearances — in 2017 (Armed Forces Bowl), 2018 (Frisco Bowl) and 2021 (Frisco Bowl).