Utah State Football: How Mountain West return impacts Aggies

by Daniel Olsen | It’s time for Utah State fans to block out Saturdays on their calendar once again. The Mountain West has announced a return to the college football season with a tentative start date of October 24th. How will this impact the Aggies? Let’s take a look.

Football Perspective: The Aggies have maintained a positive outlook since the fall semester started. USU football players began working out in hopes of a season before the announcement came on the evening of September 24th.

The Aggies return with high hopes after their season ended in a disappointing loss to Kent State in the Frisco Bowl last year. The transfer portal has treated the team well as stated in our previous articles on the new running back and quarterback. This will be a great opportunity for players to gain experience even if the season is shortened to eight games. Schedules haven’t yet been released, but the Aggies will play the same five Mountain Division teams they were slated to play this year. They are also likely to play the same three West division opponents. Due to COVID, the travel will be taken into careful consideration.

Financial:

Just by having a season, the Aggies should be able to bring home a decent check. The Mountain West has a new TV deal with Fox. This should be a good opportunity for Utah State to market the University to viewers. If a limited number of fans are allowed, that would definitely give the school another decent sized check.

While it hurts to lose the money that non-conference home games bring, the Mountain West still brings very attractive games to the slate. These games determine who will go to a conference championship. Games with local FCS programs like SUU and a PAC-12 opponent in Wazzu will have to wait. However, it will still be fun to anticipate games like those in the years to come.

Academically:

While the student athletes did get a good start to their studies, they will now have to balance their time more effectively. College sports is a full-time job. Film, practices, travel and games will demand persistence from them on the field and good performance in the classroom.

Final Prediction:

In an eight game slate, the Aggies look to be the favorite in the majority of their games. Boise remains the clear favorite in the Mountain Division while Air Force with their option game should also be a contender. If the Aggies want to consider this a successful season. Five wins should be the minimum.

Wyoming is supposed to be better but with some potentially tough games vs the West division, it is important to beat all Mountain Division teams not named Boise or maybe Air Force to get to five wins. San Diego State (or should we say the Carson Aztecs) might be the toughest West Division game for the Aggies if still on the schedule.

I think the Aggies will lose to Air Force and Boise State but beat everyone else like they did last year in the Mountain West. 6-2 wouldn’t be bad in a shortened season. In a full season that might be an eight or at least seven win season.

If Utah State seriously wants to compete for a Mountain West championship then they at least need to win six games and hope for some chaos from other teams. They would likely want to win seven games to have a legitimate chance. They did win seven conference games in 2018 but it still wasn’t enough as Boise State had the tiebreaker.

Featured image via Utah State Athletics.

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