4. San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs hit the 12-win mark in 2021 after losing to Utah State in the Mountain West championship game. That year, the team beat eventual Pac-12 champion Utah earlier in the regular season. San Diego State reached the double-digit win mark in five of the six non-COVID seasons between 2015 and 2021. Last season, The Aztecs finished with a 7-6 record.
Since 2016, the Aztecs have a 7-5 record against Pac-12 opponents. There’s plenty of talent that has made its way to San Diego — just look at the four NFL Draft picks that came from the program last spring.
San Diego State benefits, too, from its location in pristine southern California. 3.3 million people call San Diego County home and the metro area is the 18th-largest in the United States. The weather is great, and the Big 12 already has staked a foothold in the West with the addition of BYU this fall.
As an aside from football, San Diego State’s men’s basketball team has made quite a stir this spring with the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance. The No. 5-seeded Aztecs were the No. 5 seed from the South Region after winning the Mountain West regular season title and the conference tournament. Head coach Brian Dutcher’s squad knocked off No. 1 overall seed Alabama en route to this year’s Final Four before advancing to the national title game.
If the moribund Pac-12 doesn’t pick up San Diego State from the Mountain West, the Big 12 should took a serious look at the Aztecs.