San Diego State is going bowling and that always beats striking out.
That the Aztecs landed in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Dec. 21 won’t make the game’s web site crash from those seeking tickets. Even if Boise is swell, and you can’t beat the babbling creek running through downtown for fishing and fun.
But Aztecs fans leaving sunny San Diego to get blue in the face while watching their favorite team on the Bronco Stadium blue turf is a stretch.
In this case, being a couch potato (bowl) never sounded so appealing.
Still, there’s no mashing here of where San Diego State landed when it wrestles with the Mid-American Conference’s Buffalo. It beats the alternative, which is staying put despite a 6-2 Mountain West conference record.
After finishing second in the MW’s Western Division there should be a lasting memory other than getting your doors blown off in the regular-season finale.
That’s what happened to the Aztecs against UNLV, and because of it, they were this close to watching others march in the bowl parades.
The back room deals and winks to school administrators nearly had SDSU with its nose pressed on the outside of the bowl window’s glass.
But right prevailed, so we’ll cancel that lump of coal for MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. The MW’s big man on campus delivered, disguising well the MW’s bitterness toward SDSU for nearly bailing earlier in the year for the Big East.
So the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl isn’t the Big Sexy. The Aztecs (7-5) drew Buffalo (8-4), and besides its famous wings which came to life at the Anchor Bar, I can’t think of anything charming about it either.
But it’s not as much as who you’ll play as that you’re playing. In reaching a bowl game for an SDSU-record fourth straight time, it makes for a good note in the media guide and, more importantly, gives coach Rocky Long a jump on 2014.
With the game comes additional practices, and that’s as attractive at SDSU as an extra ticket to its men’s basketball games. Or a coveted parking spot.
Let this warm your engine: Those four consecutive bowl games match what the Aztecs earned in the 41 previous seasons. The 33 wins collected over the four-year span is eclipsed only by the 1974-77 run of 36, which came on the heels of some coach named Don Coyrell building the foundation for that success.
So the FIPB isn’t the TGOTA — the granddaddy of them all. It doesn’t smell like a rose, but it’s better than a fistful of thorns and that appeared to be the Aztecs’ equivlaent of bowl swag.
But Jim Sterk, SDSU’s athletic director, went to work. He burned the phone lines without burning bridges while nudging San Jose State (6-6) to the margins.
It was impressive that the Spartans handed Fresno State its lone loss, and we admire SJS coach Ron Caragher from his previous work at the University of San Diego.
Still, there needed to be a pot at the end of the Aztecs’ rainbow, considering they started 0-3 and rebounded like their-one time star, Michael Cage.
We’re mashing pigskins and hoops here, but the bottom line is if the orgy of 35 bowls can’t find room for a team going 6-2 in its conference, something is amiss.
We say that while recognizing these games are really about two body parts: backsides in the seats and heads on hotel pillows. And if Bronco Stadium is filled with Aztecs red-and-black, you can call me “Spud.”
But not calling SDSU’s name on bowl selection Sunday would have left many fried.
That the Aztecs were plopped in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is keen, no matter how you slice it.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM on Monday and Friday mornings. He’s also the Wednesday morning co-host of “Hacksaw and Company.” He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports