That’s right, after Utah State’s 42-17 win over Idaho on Saturday, the Aggies are all alone in first place. The WAC standings show USU with a 1-0 record. Idaho is at the bottom with an 0-1 mark and everyone else is 0-0.
That leaves the Aggies in the rare position of being the top dog in the conference and, while USU recognizes there’s some scheduling in that equation, they’re not about to let the occasion slip by unnoticed.
Coach Brent Guy, who had been feeling more than a little heat about job security following the 58-10 loss to Utah a week earlier, found a little humor in his approach to motivating his team and in discussing the situation with the media.
Channeling Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights, Guy told his team they could be either first or last depending on the outcome of the game. When it was over, a member of the coaching staff scribbled the WAC standings on a chalk board. Utah State was first, Idaho was last.
And, for the moment, that’s all that mattered.
As the schedule turns out, the Aggies will be a first place team for at least two, and probably at least three, more weeks.
With a bye this week, USU is assured of not slipping out of first place. The winner of the San Jose State at Hawaii game on Saturday will join USU at the top, but the rest of the WAC won’t begin play for another week — meaning there will be no other team able to leapfrog USU in the race for the WAC championship until at least October 4 and more likely until October 11 when the conference season really heats up.
So, while Utah State may have been picked in the preseason by WAC coaches as the worst team in the conference and by ESPN as the worst team in the nation, the Aggies have — for the time being — removed those labels and in the process bought Guy more time.
BYU is next on the schedule for the Aggies. A win against the Cougars may be a near-impossibility but has no bearing on the WAC race — just on USU’s pride. But with a win at San Jose State on Oct. 11, it’s not too big a stretch to imagine Utah State could still hold a share of the league lead for nearly a month.
And if that happens, Ricky Bobby — err, Brent Guy — just might have to go get thrown out of Applebees.