LOGAN -- When the Utah State football team strives to extend its school-record conference winning streak to nine this weekend, their opponent will be experiencing just their eighth game as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
That doesn't mean the Texas State football program -- let alone the entire athletics department -- hasn't been navigating the path to the highest level of Division 1 for a while now.
It's taken millions of dollars, multiple renovations and recently has involved a veteran coach with an impressive if not sullied pedigree.
Certainly, when the Aggies (7-2, 3-0 WAC) face these Bobcats (3-4, 1-1) Saturday at Romney Stadium, the tale of Texas State being in Logan in the first place runs longer than the proposition that the mighty USU defense, ranked sixth in the nation, will overwhelm the Bobcat offense, ranked 85th at the same level.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and televised on KMYU.
The process began more than five years ago, when athletic director Larry Teis keyed on increased fundraising -- a task he said remains the department's top priority. Under that umbrella has come a new track, luxury suites for the Bobcat Baseball Ballpark and Softball Stadium and a new playing floor installed in basketball's Strahan Coliseum.
Then there's the largest project of all, on the pigskin side: renovation of Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium, where the team has played home games since 1981. This year, a $33,000 expansion closing in the north end zone brought the stadium's capacity to 30,000.
For Dennis Franchione, he has appreciated the fan enthusiasm into the program's climb. The 37-year veteran has experienced head tenures -- some not more than a few years -- at New Mexico, TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M -- home of the famous "12th man" due to its energetic fan base.
"We've had to fight very hard for this," Franchione said. "It's exciting to be part of the jump and the facilities have been great."
In January 2011, Franchione signed a five-year contract in San Marcos. Having previously coached at Division II Southwest Texas State in 1990-91, it marked his second tenure with the Bobcats.
* AGGIE NOTES: USU received four national ranking votes in the ESPN poll, marking the first time it has received that many votes for a national poll since 1978. ... USU is 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2000 when that team won its first four Big West games. ... Utah State has now won at least seven games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1978 and 1979 campaigns, and for just the eighth time in school history. ... Saturday marks USU Military Appreciation Day. All military personnel with proper identification will receive free admission to the game, while an $11 general admission ticket will be available to purchase for their families.