Few observers of the WAC expected Utah State to contend for a league title.
What most absolutely didn’t expect, however, was to see the Aggies closer to the bottom this year than they were a year ago.
USU is arguably a better football team than in 2009 in many ways — winning isn’t one of them, though.
Saturday’s ugly 20-17 loss at New Mexico State is a black eye to a program that was beginning to win over a few believers despite a lack of wins. Now 1-4, Utah State and new coach Gary Andersen took a huge step backward after nearly doubling NMSU in offensive yards but still finding a way to lose.
When a team has been as bad as Utah State over the past two-plus decades every win is important and squandering golden opportunities like the Aggies did in Las Cruces isn’t a good sign at all — no matter the offensive yardage.
The loss has USU falling down my WAC rankings. Here’s how I stack things up after the weekend.
1. Boise State (5-0, 1-0) — The Broncos are the best bet in the nation to break into the BCS and face their last non-conference test Wednesday night at Tulsa.
2. Nevada (2-3, 1-0) — Wolf Pack has its offense firing on all cylinders. Nevada can move the ball at will and has the nation’s best rushing attack. Coming to Logan on Saturday.
3. Idaho (5-1, 2-0) — I guess the Vandals are for real. Or at least they believe themselves to be and who’s to argue with the results so far? Host Hawaii this week.
4. Fresno State (2-3, 1-1) — Rough preseason in over. Time for Bulldogs to prove themselves bowl worthy with San Jose State at home this week.
5. Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-1) — As usual, LaTech just hides amid the WAC contenders, out of sight, out of mind. But with offensively inept NMSU in town should win again. But that’s kind of what USU thought.
6. Hawaii (2-3, 0-2) — Crushed by Fresno State on the Islands. Quarterback is gone for season and the Warriors are in a world of hurt. Long trip to Moscow doesn’t bode well.
7. New Mexico State (3-3, 1-1) — They can’t move the ball, can’t stop people, but have a few wins. Doubt that’ll carry over to trip to Ruston for meeting with hungry Bulldogs.
8. San Jose State (1-4, 0-1) — Spartans lost at home to Idaho – typically a very, very bad sign. Now must travel to Fresno State where rivals are waiting to administer a beat down.
9. Utah State (1-4, 0-1) — You lose to NMSU, you deserve a spot at the bottom.