For teams like Boise State and UCF, the NY6 is the benchmark for a great year. For a program like Utah State, it would be the greatest season ever.
Utah State is sitting at 5-1 right now and don’t have many roadblocks ahead. But, do the Aggies have a realistic road-map to the NY6?
Just Win (Impressively)
First of all, the Aggies have to win out by large margins. Wins over Wyoming, New Mexico, San Jose State, and Colorado State won’t really impress anyone. Assuming that Utah State consistently beats them by 30+, the Aggies will be ranked.
Getting a road win over Hawai’i’s bowl-eligible, high-powered offense is a little better but that’s still not “that” good. Utah State will need to win that game by a solid 20+ points in order to gain respect nationally.
But, if the Aggies are 10-1 going to Boise, with their average victory of the past five weeks of 30+ points, they would be well on the path to the NY6.
The “Not-A-States” Do Well
The Aggies need Boise State to go 4-1 from today until November 23rd so that Boise gets a handful of votes for the Top 25, and the loss needs to come against Fresno State.
The Broncos have lost their shot at the NY6 with their loss to San Diego State. However, as long as they don’t get tripped up again by an inferior opponent, they can lend some validity to Utah State.
San Diego State and Fresno State are both nearly identical based on resume. Both are sitting at 5-1. San Diego State has a better win (v ASU), a better loss (@ Stanford), and a win over Boise.
Fresno State has blown teams out and still has Boise on the schedule, so they can continue their climb.
Whoever wins the West needs to win out, and that should be enough for them to be ranked.
With all this, the Aggies would have a win over an 8-4 Boise State team and a conference title over a ranked 11-2 Fresno State or San Diego State. That should be good enough to climb into a decent position in the Top 25.
But that’s still not getting them to the NY6 by itself, there’s still one more step.
Chaos In Just Three Games
1. App State vs Anyone
First of all, Appalachian State probably needs to lose again. Now, Utah State will likely be ahead of them with wins over the “not-a-states,” but to be safe, let’s have App State lose one more game. You can pick which.
2. UCF in the AAC Championship Game
Obviously, if the American can just beat itself up that’s good for Utah State. But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. The best chance for the Aggies is simply one upset in one game. The rest of the conference games can go as expected (for the most part.)
UCF has to lose the conference championship game. That’s priority number one. Literally, none of the rest of this matters unless UCF either loses two games or the conference championship game.
USU isn’t going to catch UCF in the polls. But, they only have to be the “highest ranked G5 Conference Champion.” If the reigning national champions aren’t the current conference champions, the Aggies can make it in.
Houston vs Anyone In The Regular Season
Houston could catch USU in the rankings if they win out from here. But Houston still has USF, Memphis, and a decent Temple team to finish the season. A one loss Houston probably sits behind the Aggies due to, at least, poll inertia. Our third chaos game is Houston losing to anyone as well (just not in the conference title.)
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?
So the Aggies aren’t out of the NY6 picture. A bit of chaos in the right places and Utah State could be going to the Fiesta Bowl.