Utah State hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2014 but aside from the Mountain West Media, many among the Aggie faithful believe the blue and white have a great chance to have a special season. Outside of Boise State no team looks invincible in the Mountain West but even the Broncos have beaten beaten by the Aggies on a perfect day.
It’s time to break 2018 down game by game, from East Lansing to Boise!
Game 1 Aggies at “We are Sparta” MSU:
This game provides an interesting dynamic as does the “big money game” every year for the Aggies. There will be no such Division 2 warm up as has been in previous years but the Aggies of 2018 will learn by being thrown into the fire. The not so hot take here is the Aggies will play tough the first half and ultimately lose with some kind of moral victory as they did when up 10-0 at Wisconsin for most of the first half last year before getting clobbered in the second.
Michigan State is the only team besides Ohio State to make it to the college football playoff. However “Golden Arm” winner Conner Cook is now a backup quarterback for the Raiders so don’t look for them to light up the Big 10 this year but they will use the Aggies as a pedestal to light contention in the East division.
If the Aggies play respectably and stay injury free then they can hold their heads high and get ready for week two.
Prediction: MSU 40 USU 24
Game 2: The Aggie Bowl Part 2
The Aggies were upset in overtime to the New Mexico State Aggies who won their first bowl game in basically forever in the Arizona Bowl over the Utah State Aggies last year.
This year will be different though. The Aggies return 18 starters while New Mexico State lost a lot of key players. Look for the Aggies up north to light up their home opener to edge the Aggies of Las Cruces by the same score they were edged in the bowl game. After all the Aggies are in the spot where the sagebrush grows and there’s no place like home.
Prediction: USU 26 NMSU 20
Game 3 BYE week, ok hosting D2 Tennessee Tech I guess:
Chalk this up as a W for the Aggies. This diddly bo tech school isn’t even a good Division 2 team. They lost almost all their games last year.
Prediction: USU 31 Tennessee Tech 3
Game 4 USU stomping on the Air Force ones:
Channeling the inner Nelly to finally get a win off those Air Force ones! We’ve lost the last three matchups against them. Should’ve won two years ago on homecoming. Should’ve won last year but bowl eligibility was already set so Coach Matty’s job felt secure enough so we let the game slip away this weekend. This is a game Coach Matty Wells needs to ice if he wants to be more of a contender than pretender in the Mountain West. My best guess is this is the year we shake off the demons Akr Force has recently given us.
Prediction: USU 31 Air Force 24
Game 5 USU at Brigham World:
The Aggies head 100 plus miles down south to play in the million dollar tithing play pen! The Aggies are primed to take over the rivalry after their 16 point win last year right? Not so fast.
The years the Aggies have won they’ve beaten BYU teams with bad quarterbacks that have played more than half of the game. Jake Heaps, Christian Stewart and Koy Detmer Jr. weren’t good quarterbacks. Jalen Davis who graduated also scored 2 pick six touchdowns last year so you can’t bet your money on another corner doing that this year unless the quarterback is just plain BAD!
As I predicted in the Cougar season preview I think the Aggies will win but not if Mangum or Wilson play more than half of the game (preferably the whole game since we saw what happened after Taysom went down in 2014). I think the Cougars can’t survive the daunting Power 5 starting schedule fully healthy so I think Critchlow or Detmer Jr. will be getting most of the reps and with Beau Hoge playing running back this year, the vaunted Aggie returning defense will stuff him at the line and you can chalk up the first consecutive football wins for the Aggies over the Cougars since the 1970s! If Mangum or Wilson plays though I will be forced to switch the score to the Cougar side for my pick. Either way I think the score will be close and end with the score below.
Winning team (probably USU) 30
Losing team (probably BYU) 24
Game 6 Sin City at “I Believe that we will Win” City:
UNLV hasn’t been that impressive against the Aggies since the two became Mountain West Conference foes. USU’s first conference game against them resulted in a narrow win in Sin City in 2013. Last year the Aggies totally outclassed the Rebels 52-28.
This year will be no different. The Aggies have an easier conference schedule as they avoid the Aztecs and Bulldogs and instead get teams like Hawaii, San Jose State and…. UNLV. The Mountain Division is already tough enough so the Aggies will need to bring their A game to compete for the title and that includes taking care of business here. Don’t expect the Aggies to let this game get close on their own homecoming.
Final Score: USU 41 UNLV 14
Game 7 USU for little Wyoming will be their new home:
This might sound like a gamble if Heisman candidate Josh Allen were still under center but the Aggies nearly beat the Cowboys last season. This year they will have to weather the storm of the drunk Cowboys in Laramie but the pre-Allen Wyoming football team was dominated by the Aggies and I expect the post-Allen team to be dominated by the Aggies as well. The Cowboys will be rough and tough in a tied battle at halftime but then will run out of moonshine as the Aggies reach their second straight bowl eligible season with a win here.
Final Score Prediction: Wyoming 21 USU 38
Game 8: Aggies say “Adios amigos!” To NMU:
The Lobos have recently given the Aggies some trouble. Yes the Aggies did beat them in 2017 by two touchdowns but the Lobos did win the matches in 2016 and 2015. Look for a well coached New Mexico team to give the Aggies a little scare early as this is the one team in the Mountain Division I believe has a chance to beat the Aggies outside of Boise State. In the end the Aggies will win with a game winning field goal by Eberle. Eberle was nearly invincible against every team last year except New Mexico’s little brother but this isn’t quite the same pressure as the bowl game that was basically an away game. Look for him to come in clutch and have his sights set on the Lou Groza award this year again.
Final Score Prediction: USU 23 NMU 21
Game 9 Aggies say Aloha to Rainbow Warriors:
The Aggies haven’t lost to Hawaii since the Brent Guy era. Despite a brief hiccup in 2015 the Aggies don’t look like a team that wants to return to the Dark Ages of Aggie football. Matt Wells would like to keep his job so I think he coaches like it to be one of the Dark Horse candidates along with Boise State for a New Year’s Six berth. The Golden State Warriors might win a title next year but these Warriors have a better chance of catching a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow than winning this game.
Final Prediction: USU 52 Hawaii 9
Game 10 Aggies say No Way José to “The Other Spartans”
The Aggies to the Michigan State Spartans as the San Jose Spartans are to the Aggies. The Aggies have been and always will be more talented than this little team. Sure David can and has slain Goliath in college basketball. The USU Aggies had one of their worst losses in school history against San Jose State in basketball last year which was one of the main reasons Coach Duryea was fired. This is a game Matt Wells should and will coach to a win. The Aggies are at home and they smell blood.
Final Score USU 63 SJSU 6
Game 11 USU loses some spring in Colorado Springs:
This is another team the Aggies have struggled against the last few years. The Aggies have lost to Colorado State in consecutive years since their last win over the Rams in 2015. I actually expect this game to go into multiple overtimes as the Aggies will once again overlook the well coached Rams and be thinking more about their big following game against Boise. It will be close but in the end I think it will go down to a triple overtime where a two point conversion attempt is required. After years of choking last second games I believe this is a special year for the Aggies and they make their two point conversion and Colorado State will miss theirs!
Final Score Prediction: USU 50 CSU 48
Game 12 Clock strikes midnight on the Smurf Turf:
The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, the four white horses turned back into four white mice and the mystery princess at the royal ball turned back into Cinderella. I believe the Aggies will still have a shot at finding their “glass slipper” at the end of this season. It will just be in their bowl game (or the Mountain West title game if Boise has some hiccups against other Mountain West teams this season). I think Boise could easily lose to Fresno and San Diego State and the Aggies would advance to the title game despite the loss that will inevitably happen on the smurf turf.
Final Score: BSU 41 USU 28
Best Case Scenario: Aggies go 10-2 but advance to title game and beat the champion of the West division to win that coveted MWC championship. The Aggies go on to beat a mediocre MAC team in The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl! This barely eclipses 2012 for the winningest team in Aggie history at 12-2. It’s not quite the New Year’s six bid they had in mind but still a very special season.
Worst Case Scenario: The Aggies drop surprise games to New Mexico, Air Force and Colorado State as well as BYU, Boise State and Michigan State to barely eclipse bowl eligibility. They lose their bowl game to another lowly team.
Most likely scenario: I think the Aggies finish the season with three losses. Whether that third loss happens in the Mountain West title game, bowl game, or some other team, I predict it will happen but the Aggies can hold their heads high with the best season they have had since 2012 as they finish at either 10-3 or 11-3.