Tonight, the Utah State University Aggies football team heads to Provo to face the Brigham Young University Cougars. What's ironic about this year's match up is that the Aggies are the more interesting team taking the field this evening.
The Logan university's team, coached by Gary Andersen, enjoys a 4-1 record so far this year, including a victory over Utah. The team would be undefeated if not for a missed field goal against Big 10 opponent Wisconsin. Tonight's game against BYU is likely a bridge game for the Aggies. If they can defeat the Cougars the team should move into elite college football ground, a ranking in the top 25 of teams.
What's also unique this year is that the Aggies have the best quarterback in the state of Utah, Chuckie Keeton has thrown 11 touchdown passes this year, against only four interceptions. Also, Aggie running back Kerwynn Williams, with 519 yards rushing in five games, is arguably the best running back in the state.
That the Aggies will win six games this year and qualify for a second-straight bowl appearance is almost a certainty. What's intriguing is that after these first six games, the final half of the season is -- at least on paper -- easier for Utah State. A victory over BYU tonight could propel the Aggies to a 10-win season.
BYU, currently 3-2, will be a difficult task. While the Cougars offense has been erratic this year, the defense is among the best in the nation. BYU is undefeated at home so far. Keeton, Williams, and the rest of the Aggies offense will be tested thoroughly. For that reason, a win is likely to bridge the team into the rankings.
Whatever happens tonight, Aggies head Coach Andersen, the entire football team, and the athletic program in Logan deserve congratulations for moving a once-moribund program into a winning team with lots of talent and confidence.