If the college football season ended today, the 2017 campaign for San Diego State would have been a success.
An undefeated 6-0 record, two wins against Pac-12 Conference opponents – including a top-25 victory against Stanford – and commanding wins against everyone else have made this arguably the best season in school history.
The sad thing is that it seems as if no one outside of Southern California truly recognizes just how special this year has been for the program and for the city.
Yes, SDSU is currently ranked No. 19 in the country in the AP poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches poll. Yes, this is the Aztecs’ best ranking since the 1977 season, when they were ranked No. 16 going into the final week of that season.
But you know what? Their ranking this week just isn’t good enough.
Whether it’s playing in the Mountain West Conference or the fact that all of the Aztecs’ games start at 10:30 p.m. on the east coast, there is a lot of bias behind SDSU’s ranking.
The Men on the Mesa kept their 19th spot in the rankings after trouncing University of Nevada, Las Vegas at home, 41-10. Normally, this would make sense – the Rebels don’t exactly boast the best FBS program in the country.
However, another look at the top 25 from week six to seven begs the question: if SDSU’s blowout victory against a 2-3 team isn’t enough for a significant rise, why does Notre Dame’s victory against a 1-5 team warrant a five-spot increase, one that leapfrogs them over the Aztecs?
The easy answer? No. It doesn’t justify it at all, and it’s not even close.
The Fighting Irish went from No. 21 to No. 16. They’ve played one top 25 team, No. 15 University of Georgia. Even though their loss was by one point and the Bulldogs are now No. 4, they still don’t have any significant wins this year.
The only other victory of note is their 38-18 win against Michigan State, who jumped into to top 25 with their upset of the University of Michigan.
Either way, Notre Dame has done nothing else to show it deserves to be three spots ahead of the Scarlet and Black.
The Aztecs are just one of 13 teams in the country that are still undefeated. Narrowed down to 6-0 teams and SDSU joins an elite group comprised of Univeristy of Alabama, University of Clemson, Penn State University, Georgia, University of Washington and Washington State University.
The Aztecs find themselves ranked lowest on that list by far – the next closest is Washington State, which comes in at No. 8.
A whole 11 spots ahead of SDSU.
This isn’t to say that the Aztecs are automatically deserving of a top-10 spot.
Unfortunately, they don’t have a strength of schedule during the regular season strong enough to warrant that with authority. There’s also a lot of games left to be played, and a lot can change.
However, being ranked in the same spot while getting jumped by another program that hasn’t done anything to warrant it shows there is a clear bias against SDSU.
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to keep saying it until the Aztecs start getting the recognition they deserve: There isn’t much else they can do to prove themselves. I can’t see a single reason why teams like Notre Dame would jump that far ahead, except for basing it on previous success.
If that’s the case, then the system is flawed.
SDSU is officially the premier football program, and with apologies to the Padres, might even be the premier sports team, for the city of San Diego.
The finest team in America’s finest city shouldn’t have to wait until the New Year to receive its share of the spotlight it has earned the past two years. Unfortunately, that’s how long it might take to get.