It seems like almost every year a different G5 team steps up and impresses the masses.
Most years, no one expected this team to do as well as they did. But this year, I’ll give you a heads up. It’s going to be Utah State.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Utah State is going to be claiming a national championship at the end of the year or even win the Mountain West.
But a basic knowledge that USU is going to have a good year will go a long way for the Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody listening, r/cfb posting, college football know it alls this year.
Last year, Utah State lost Jalen Davis (All American CB) and Dallin Leavitt (Starting DB) to graduation and the NFL. And that’s about it.
The Aggies are returning 9 starters on defense, 10 on offense, their Offensive Coordinator (for the first time in what feels like forever), a Lou Garza finalist kicker, and even their punter.
This will not be an inexperienced squad. The Aggies will be led by Sophomore QB Jordan Love. Love has a strong arm that helped the Aggies spread the field in a way that fans hadn’t seen under Kent Myers. He is going to love the addition of Jalen Greene, a WR grad transfer from USC.
Utah State even added a trio of JUCO transfers that should help out (including one from Independence CC, the site of the new season of Last Chance U on Netflix.)
Utah State should have the talent to really make some noise this season.
The Aggies have a good pair of book ends to the season. They open the season at Michigan State and they close the season at Boise State. Those are going to be tough games to win and, to be honest, they probably won’t win them.
However, the ten games in the middle? Shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The Aggies will play six teams that are projected to be 100th or worse in the S&P+, plus their FCS foe, Tennessee Tech and Colorado State, who is ranked 95th.
That leaves Utah State with just two more games that could be considered toss ups.
The first will come at BYU on October 5th. BYU is projected 76th and frankly that is being kind to the Cougars. Last year was abysmal and this year they go through the gauntlet again early in the season.
Utah State on the other hand has a bye game going into their match-up. While this isn’t a easy win, the Aggies should be able to pull a win out.
The second toss-up game is at Wyoming. While they will be recovering from the loss of Josh Allen, their defense should stay strong. Last year’s game in Logan was a nail biter up until Utah State’s inexperience shot them in the foot.
But for 2018, that shouldn’t be an issue. Utah State also gets the benefit of an easy-ish home game the week before where as Wyoming will be coming back from a road trip to a solid Fresno State. Again, this isn’t a scheduled win, but it isn’t hard to see Utah State win this one based on experience and rest.
End of the Season Dreams
Assuming that Utah State loses to Michigan State and then goes on to win the following ten games, it is very easy to see a 10-1 Utah State poke into the top 25.
That means the match-up between Utah State and Boise State at the end of the season will likely be between a No. 12-ish team and a no. 20-ish team. It will also likely decide the Mountain Division.
If Boise falls to Fresno State and San Diego State earlier in the season, Utah State may win the division regardless of the result against Boise State. Leading them to a Mountain West Conference Championship game against either Fresno State or San Diego State.
So although the Aggies had some back luck last year, the door is certainly open to have an attention grabbing season this year.