After an abysmal 3-9 season last year it’s hard to believe the Aggies can go anywhere but up. The only thing worse than that would be something from the Brent Guy era. After so many close losses last year one would think it’s time for luck to swing back in their favor. This might prove harder this year though with players like Rayshad Lewis and Joe Tukuafu leaving the program.
The Aggies return second year starter senior Kent Myers to the program a year after his disappointing junior campaign. It was hard to replace an all-time Aggie great in Chuckie Keeton but he certainly had some experience as a backup to the injury prone quarterback.
Myers arguably played his best football his first year as a third string quarterback in 2014. At this point starter Chuckie Keaton had been injured and sensational backup Garretson had also been injured. Myers was 5-1 as the starter that season with the only loss coming at the hands of Boise State who clinched the Mountain Division over the Aggies after losing the year prior. Myers would go on to win the Gildan New Mexico Bowl over UTEP to give the Aggies their third straight bowl win.
Perhaps backups Jordan Love and DJ Nelson will get chances to shine. Nelson certainly has a history of good quarterbacks in his family as his brothers and father won state titles at Logan High and went on to do great things (whether for the Aggies or the other blue team).
Tarver looks to continue to be the number one option at wide receiver. The Aggie defense will be led by studs like Derek Larsen (brother of former Aggie All-Star BJ Larsen) and Dallin Leavitt. Perhaps the special teams will make some special plays that don’t result in missed onside recoveries (the Aggies still haven’t forgotten Auburn) or blocked field goals (especially by the hands of the BYU defensive line).
The good news is that the Aggies don’t play a murderers row schedule like the Utes do in the PAC-12. The best case scenario is the Aggies win 11 games to match their school record set in 2012. The Aggies will lose to at least one of their non-conference games (probably Wisconsin) and one of their conference games (probably Boise State) but otherwise their schedule has winnable games across the board.
The worst case scenario would be a four win season. The Aggies should at least beat FCS for Idaho State and a couple of the perennial basement Mountain West teams. The San Jose Spartans in California will be a good tune up game before BYU. The Aggies also get the new look Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii in Logan and finish off the season on the road against an Air Force team that is projected to have a down year.
The most likely scenario is a 6 win team that will qualify for a bowl (probably the famous Idaho potato bowl again). The Aggies will probably lose to two out of their three power 5 conference foes in Wisconsin, Wake Forest and BYU (they say they deserve to be in the Big 12 right?). The Mountain West teams most likely to beat the Aggies will be Wyoming, Colorado State, Boise State and New Mexico. The Aggies get 3 out of these 4 games at home. If the Aggies don’t get some wins out of the gate though then the fair weather fans might not show up as the weather turns cold. Even if they beat one of these tough teams they could still lose to UNLV on the road or another non-conference team.
This isn’t the year to put USU or any Mountain West team in a New Years Six Bowl. The Aggies should win some games and earn the chance to beat a MAC team in one of the MWC vs MAC bowls. This would give them a 7-6 season reminiscent to their 2011 season. A quick comeback after a one year Bowl hiatus would certainly be a step in the right direction that would avoid another dreadful decade. If the Aggies believe that they will win then the ceiling is the highest in the state but if they don’t then their basement is the lowest in the state as well.