Aztecs Could Be Set Up For Big Payout

SDSU football might get a shot at a major bowl game

San Diego State’s football program could not have picked a better time to be really, really, really, ridiculously good.

But you know that.

The question now is … realistically … just how far can they take this thing?

Well let’s take a look. The Aztecs have already made it through the toughest part of their schedule. The biggest remaining tests will be Northern Illinois, who beat Nebraska in Lincoln, Boise State in an Aztecs home game, and a likely spot in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game.

So if everything goes according to plan they can finish the season a perfect 13-0 and be in line for a major bowl game. However, even if that happens they STILL might not get a spot in a prestigious and lucrative (more on that in a minute) “New Year’s Six” bowl game.

Only one team from the Group of Five conferences (Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American, Sun Belt, and American Athletic) gets an automatic spot to play with the Power Five conferences (Pac-12, SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12) in one of the year’s biggest bowl games. One might assume an undefeated SDSU team that’s already ranked 19th in the country and would only move up is that team right?

Not necessarily.

South Florida is also undefeated and sitting ahead of San Diego State in both major polls. A member of the American Athletic Conference, the Bulls will also be favored in every game they play for the rest of the regular season. If they also go unbeaten it will come down to rankings, both human and computer, to see who gets the automatic berth in a New Year’s Six bowl, and that has huge financial ramifications.

The Group of Five team this year would likely play in either the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ, or the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, GA against a traditional powerhouse. I’ve seen projections where the Group of Five champ would get a shot at USC, Georgia or Washington. But aside from the exposure and chance to prove they can challenge the perceived best teams in the nation there is a massive disparity in how much money that team (and its conference) earns.

If the Aztecs are edged out by the Bulls and are not given at at-large spot in another major bowl game (which would be unprecedented but not impossible) they would likely end up back in the Las Vegas Bowl. The payout for the Las Vegas Bowl is around $1.4 million.

The payout for the Fiesta or Peach Bowl is $4 million, PLUS a stipend of a shade more than $2 million just to cover expenses of traveling to and playing in the game.

That is a serious bump in cash and why the position San Diego State seems to be putting itself in is a BIG deal.

Plus if you really want to look at the crystal ball and into the future there’s the specter of realignment to consider. The Big 12 seems constantly on the brink of either being pillaged by other conferences or adding teams to become a powerhouse again. The Pac 12 is rumored to want to expand to 14 or maybe even 16 teams. Ditto the Big 10.

If San Diego State is able to make a couple of these major bowl games and, who knows, even win one … and Rashaad Penny is able to make a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist (which is looking more and more likely each week) … and the basketball program gets back to its NCAA Tournament bracket-busting ways, the Aztecs would be an institution that those major conferences would be wise to take a look at.

Then the major payouts come every single year and SDSU could truly compete on a national stage for the top recruits. Oh, and this would all happen at the same time the Padres will be morphing into one of the best teams in baseball, competing for the playoffs every season.

And what do you know; San Diego is finally a perennial winner. How nice would that be?

Contact Us