FCS college football fans and even casual college football fans have likely heard of San Diego’s run of dominance in the Pioneer Football League. From October 2015 to April 2021, San Diego won 39 straight Pioneer Football League games. That’s right. Three different presidents resided in the Oval Office in the time it took the Toreros to lose a conference game.
Even if you had never heard of this winning streak, if the names Jim Harbaugh and super-journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson are familiar to you, then you know a little about San Diego football.
Jim Harbaugh started his coaching career at San Diego and amassed a record of 29-6 before heading to Stanford. Johnson parlayed a 43 touchdown and 1 INT season in 2007 to a spot in the East-West Shrine Game where he won MVP and a well-traveled 16-year pro career that spans to this day.
Throughout this run of consistency, San Diego has naturally dominated a few schools in the Pioneer Football League. The Toreros hold perfect 15-0 records against Marist and Morehead State and a 9-0 mark against Stetson. However, recent developments in San Diego could put these streaks in jeopardy.
Half of San Diego’s football team faces discipline from a hazing incident that occurred over the Summer. This report comes less than a week before the Toreros start their season. Losing half of a football team is obviously never a good situation and the circumstances make the situation worse.
News outlets have not specified the severity of these allegations, but there is reason to believe several players could face significant suspensions. Or at least there’s plausible deniability that they can be suspended for a large chunk of the season.
Of the three schools that are winless against San Diego, Marist plays the Toreros the earliest, on October 14th at home. Two weeks later, Morehead State visits San Diego and Stetson hosts San Diego in the final week of the season.
Marist and Stetson both did not play the Toreros last year. Yet, both were competitive last year. Both schools won four games, and Stetson took the league’s FCS Playoff representative, Davidson, to double overtime. However, last year’s meeting between Morehead State and San Diego indicates that the hazing scandal could be the break the Eagles need.
Last season, Morehead State lost to San Diego 14-9, despite having the advantage in first downs (20-14) and yardage (321-317). This continued a narrowing of the gap between the two schools as Morehead State lost to the Toreros 10-3 in November of 2021 in the first meeting since the Toreros conference winning streak ended. This was the first meeting between the two since San Diego blew out Morehead State 52-21.
I may be blowing these reports out of proportion, but the best-case scenario for the Toreros is the implicated players receiving a suspension of 1-2 games. Even though this does not affect the team’s depth, this affects their chemistry as they will have much less time playing as a team than their opponents.
While we do not know the exact severity and details of the hazing allegations in San Diego, the situation looks bleak for the Toreros. If there is anybody that benefits from such a terrible situation, it is teams that always struggle against the mighty Toreros.