San Diego State (10-3) at Stanford (9-5)
When: Friday, August 31st 2018
Where: Stanford Stadium,
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: Stanford -14.5/51.5
The San Diego State Aztecs come into the 2018 season off three consecutive 10+ win seasons – including 2-1 in Bowl games – and will look to knock-off the Stanford Cardinal for the second straight year when they visit Stanford Stadium on Friday night. Head coach Rocky Long has finished with a winning record in all seven of his seasons at San Diego State and has done it with a strong running game and solid defense. The Aztecs, who return 14 starters, finished second in the Mountain West Conference West Division last season and lost to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cardinal will welcome back star running back Bryce Love, who opted not to turn pro, and will be in the lineup for Friday night’s opener. Love returns for his senior season after leading all Power 5 running backs last year in yards rushing (2,118), yards per carry (8.1) and 100-yard games (12). Stanford won the Pac-12 North for the fourth time in the past six seasons last year and returns 18 starters, including Love, who finished with 19 touchdowns and had 13 rushes of at least 50 yards. The Cardinal also bring back their top four receivers from a year ago along with junior quarterback K.J. Costello, who took over as the starter midway through last season. Stanford just missed out on their seventh double-digit winning season in the last eight after losing to TCU 39-37 in the Alamo Bowl. The Aztecs edged the Cardinal 20-17 last year in San Diego – their third consecutive victory over a Pac-12 team. Stanford is 14-0 at home under Shaw against non-conference opponents.
The Aztecs have to replace back-to-back 2,000-yard rushers in D.J. Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny with Juwan Washington, who rumbled for 759 yards and seven touchdowns last season (6.0 yards a carry). Senior quarterback Christian Chapman returns behind a solid offensive line for the Aztecs, who are picked to finish second in the West Division behind Fresno State. San Diego State ranked 21st nationally in scoring defense last season (20.2) and returns their top two tacklers and a strong secondary led by safety Tariq Thompson, who finished with five interceptions. The Aztecs will get a break next week with their home opener against FCS Sacramento State before hosting another Pac-12 opponent in Arizona State.
The Cardinal are once again picked to finish second in the North Division of the Pac-12 behind Washington, and have to play at the Huskies later this year. The defensive line is the big question coming into the season, but Stanford seems to replenish the big guys on both sides of the ball pretty routinely. Costello has plenty of weapons on offense with receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside (48 receptions) and Trenton Irwin (43 receptions) leading the way along with tight ends Kaden Smith (23 receptions) and Colby Parkinson (10 catches, 4 TD). The Stanford offensive line has allowed just nine sacks over the past 10 games and is led by tackle Walker Little and guard Nate Herbig. Stanford can’t be caught looking ahead to next week’s date with USC.
Stanford is obviously the better team, but the Aztecs are a pesky bunch and have been looking forward to this game all summer, while the Cardinal are more focused on the Pac-12. San Diego State’s defense will keep them in this contest and could be primed for another upset, but Stanford will hang on for a 10-point win.
Pick: San Diego State +14.5
- Aztecs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Aztecs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Aztecs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Aztecs are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 vs. Pac-12.
- Aztecs are 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 non-conference games.
- Cardinal are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Cardinal are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Cardinal are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Friday games.
- Under is 5-1 in Aztecs last 6 games in August.
- Under is 4-1 in Aztecs last 5 vs. Pac-12.
- Under is 6-2 in Aztecs last 8 Friday games.
- Under is 4-1 in Cardinal last 5 home games.
- Over is 5-2 in Cardinal last 7 Friday games.
- Under is 7-3 in Cardinal last 10 games overall.