If you’re a Ute, the last 24 hours weren’t so fun — what with a football loss to TCU, a men’s basketball loss to Idaho and a women’s basketball loss to Utah State.
If you’re an Aggie, on the other hand, the past 24 hours have been a rare treat.
Rare in that the football and women’s basketball teams picked up huge wins while the men’s basketball team did what it does.
Utah State’s win over Utah in the Spectrum might be the biggest single victory the women’s basketball program has had since it was reinstated several years back. They’ve had wins, winning seasons and even conference tournament wins. But beating the Utes can be a milestone victory in terms of local perception and recruiting. Reagen Pebley’s team may not be a Top 25 program — a long ways from it, in fact — but the process they’ve undertaken from not even being a team to handily thumping the state’s most-successful programs in the season opener has to have the entire athletic department thrilled.
Likewise, Utah State’s football win over San Jose State was important.
In the immediate picture it wasn’t that impressive. The scoreboard didn’t show an overwhelming advantange and the stat sheet — aside from Robert Turbin’s 190-yard, two-touchdown effort — wasn’t that great. But it gave the Aggies three wins at home in a season for the first time since before Brent Guy arrived.
The Aggies are bruised, battered and playing with youngsters not quite ready physically or mentally for Division I football. Yet they’ve been hanging in there against some very stiff competition.
The most optimistic scenario has the Aggies finishing the year with just four wins, very possibly just three. That’s not a marked improvement in the win column over last year’s 3-9 record that got Guy fired.
But ask anyone who has seen USU play and they’ll tell you there is a difference — a positive difference — on the field.
If Utah State can stay healthy, recruit a few more beasts on both sides of the line and develop under the gameplan of coach Gary Andersen, it’s very possible that the Aggies could see rapid improvement where it matters most in just another season.
As for Stew Morrill’s men’s basketball team, let’s just say he’s happy to get past good friend and former assistant Randy Rahe’s Weber State squad.
Opening the season with three straight road games is a pretty tough challenge, especially when looking at those three opponents. But with one win under their belt, the Ags appear to be adjusting well to life without Gary Wilkinson.
Wednesday’s tip at Utah might not be the Super Bowl for Utah State, but it is certainly a big game and Morrill would love to follow another of his former assistants, Idaho skipper Don Verlin, into the Huntsman Center and hand Jim Boylen’s Utes another loss.
It will not be easy, though.
The Utes, without question, will be out to redeem themselves. And after last year’s narrow USU win in Logan, Utah has plenty of motivation to turn things around.