By Ernie Gonzalez (@superego1012):
Since the beginning of the 2014 campaign, the Spartans are 4-15 away from San Jose.
With a strenuous schedule ahead, it will be crucial for SJSU to go into enemy territory and steal at least a couple games over the 13 game season.
The Spartans open up the year at home and won’t fly out of San Jose until week three, where they will head to Texas for a big time matchup against the Longhorns.
It will be the first ever game between the Spartans and Longhorns, but you can go ahead and forget about it.
If the Spartans pull off the miracle win at Texas Memorial Stadium, it will go down as the greatest regular season win in SJSU history.
Okay wake up. Pretend you never read the sentence before last — because you didn’t.
Back to topic.
After Texas, the Spartans will travel to Salt Lake City for a popcorn-ready contest against the Utes, a game that will nationally televised.
The Spartans have only beaten the Utes once in program history (1974), as Utah holds the all-time head-to-head 7-1.
Sure, go ahead press the recline button on your La-Z-Boy one-seater and chew on that popcorn, but be sure get a couple pillows just incase, as the game may just get out of hand.
With Utah hungry for its first Pac-12 South title since joining the conference of champions back in 2011, I don’t expect SJSU to interfere with an inevitable breakout year the Utes have in store for them.
That will be the first of three back-to-back road games the Spartans will have over the course of the season.
The most winnable road game will definitely be against the UNLV Rebels, although the ESPN Football Power Index gives SJSU only about a 38 percent chance to win.
Facts beat numbers, and the fact is that the Spartans have beaten the Rebels each of the last four seasons and have not lost to Las Vegas since 1995.
Siding with history, the Spartans should have no trouble departing Sam Boyd Stadium with a win. In my opinion, it should be the Spartans first road win of the 2017 season.
Weeks eight and 10 interrupted by a week nine bye will be on the road as well, as the Spartans will face Hawaii (Oct. 14) and BYU (Oct. 28).
The Island game will be an interesting one, as the Spartans and Rainbow Warriors are 19-19-1 all time.
By this time of the year, I would expect the chemistry between not only coach to player, but player to player begin to mature.
If San Jose State can keep it close throughout, they can definitely make the second half of this game be a kickstart to the second half of the season.
I have the Spartans stealing one from the Rainbow Warriors in high scoring, come-from-behind fashion, earning its second road win of the year.
After the open date, SJSU heads to back to Utah for another marquee matchup, this time against the BYU Cougars. In Spartans and Cougars have gone head-to-head 17 times. SJSU has come out on top in 10 of them.
The last time the Spartans and Cougars shared a field, it was a hard-nosed, defensive battle. The Spartans showed resilience, as they came back down 14-3, but a failed 2-point conversion with 45 seconds left ended up being the difference.
If the Spartan defense can keep BYU record-setter Tanner Mangum in check, SJSU will have a chance, but I don’t see that happening. Count this one as another road loss for the Spartans.
The final set of continuous games away from San Jose will be weeks 12 and 13 with games against Nevada (Nov. 11) and Colorado State (Nov. 18), before returning home for the season finale against Wyoming (Nov. 25).
The Spartans have not defeated the Wolf Pack in Nevada in 16 years, but that streak ends this year.
The ESPN Football Power Index gives the Spartans a 40.5 percent chance of topping Nevada.
SJSU is sandwiched between the Boise State and San Diego State matchups for Nevada, and it is certainly one that the Wolf Pack can come out a little slow.
Look for the Spartans to score early and often, just enough to hold the lead late. I have SJSU winning this one.
The final road game for the Spartans is at Colorado State. The Spartans have had success in Fort Collins, as they have come away with a victory the last two times they’ve visited, but this time will be different.
The Rams are growing, and considering it will be there season finale, there will likely be pressure on them if they are a bubble team for a potential bowl game.
The Spartans will drop their final away game and finish 3-3 overall away from San Jose.
Crossing fingers if Spartans can hover around .500 at CEFCU, they themselves might earn an opportunity to participate in a bowl game, something huge for a trending team.