This week is rivalry week. Unfortunately for Utah State and Boise State, that doesn't bring a rivalry game to the table. That could change, though; there were tiny sparks of fandom hatred created last year when USU went to the MWC Championship game in the stead of Boise, who had beaten the Aggies earlier in the year. A USU win on the blue turf this year couldn't help but fan those sparks in the hearts of those in Bronco Nation, as it would effectually end Boise State's chances at yet another conference championship and possibly a New Year's Day bowl game.
The following are three solid reasons why USU can pull off the upset and start the timer going on the creation of another conference rivalry a few years down the road:
1. Boise will not put up massive amounts of points like they're becoming used to doing. Boise State has been held below 34 points only twice this season, their two losses to Ole Miss and Air Force. They have averaged 40 points per game, and in the six games since the loss to AFA, they have averaged over 50. They will not get anywhere close to that against USU. Only twice have the Aggies allowed over 21 points to their opponents. Excluding their loss to Tennessee in their season opener in which the Aggies allowed 38 points to the Vols, the only teams to beat USU did so with scores of 21 and 16 points. USU is allowing, on average, just over 18 points per game. IF Boise State wins, it will be because the Aggie offense doesn't put up points, not because the Bronco offense runs over the Aggie D.
2. Kent Myers is starting to find his rhythm and groove. The Aggie true freshman has posted unbelievable stats in the areas of completion rate and passer rating, and has shown the capacity to create scoring drives. The coaching staff has done a fantastic job of creating game plans that maximize his skill set, and he has shown solid decision making. He is averaging 150 passing yards per game, just over 1 TD per game, a 73.4% completion rate, takes just over 1 sack per game, and adds solid rushing stats: 42 yards per game and nearly 1 TD per game on the ground. If JoJo Natson and Joe Hill can add a solid run game to Myers' already dangerous ground threat, Myers and the Aggies should have a solid day against a soft Bronco defense.
2B. An addendum regarding the soft Bronco defense, since I know that statement will create outrage among the Boise State faithful... Boise allows 28.4 points per game, and, as opposed to the Aggies only allowing over 21 points twice in the season, the Broncos have only twice held a team under 21 points. During that same six game stretch since losing to Air Force, they have allowed an average of just over 34 points. The Bronco defense IS soft, and allows far too many points for the comfort of the honest Bronco fan, especially when their offense is going up against this formidable Aggie defense.
3. USU will be fighting for a Championship game berth, just like the Broncos. After Air Force takes down Colorado State on Friday night, both teams will know that the winner takes all in this showdown showcase. And USU, who has taken just about every possible hit imaginable from the college football gods of wrath, is the poster child for the team that just won't go down. A rematch of last year's championship game on their home turf is too perfect an ending for this Aggie team to miss; they certainly deserve a good reward for a season of mostly unnoticed hard work and overcoming adversity. Besides which, how many times can USU sneak into the CCG at Boise's expense before we develop a lasting, devoted relationship of mutual hate and respect that becomes a staple of Mountain West football for years to come? I don't know about you, but I'd love it.
My projection (situation A): After CSU loses to AFA in Colorado Springs, the Aggies pull out a narrow victory, upsetting Boise's national aspirations. USU 28 - BSU 24.
My alternate projection (situation B): If CSU beats Air Force on the road, the Aggies lose hope and play without any heart, losing to the Fiesta Bowl-bound Broncos. BSU 45 - USU 21.