Utah State

Utah State Preview 2016: Mountain West's Sleeper

The Utah State football outlook for 2016 season. The expectations are set far higher for an Aggie program that’s getting used to success.

2016 Utah State Preview10 Utah State Players To Know

It’s still sort of amazing to think that 6-7 with a bowl appearance has become a massive disappointment for Utah State, but the bar has been quickly set higher.

This was a program that almost defined the idea of being everyone’s automatic win, going from 1997 to 2010 without a winning season. However, former coach Gary Andersen created a strong base to build off of with a nasty defense, quirky offense, and solid, hard-nosed teams that were amazing against the run.

Matt Wells has done a good job of keeping the train rolling along, going 25-16 in his first three seasons with three bowl games – winning two – and an appearance in the Mountain West title game, but now is when he gets to really sink his teeth into the program. Now this is fully his team with a chance to put his stamp on the direction.

Unfortunately, he and the Aggies are coming off a brutal finishing kick to an otherwise strong season, losing four of their last five games including a shocker to Akron in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. And now he has a ton of work to do.

The offense should be fine with quarterback Kent Myers leading a veteran group that has the potential to be more explosive and more consistent, but the defense has to undergo an overhaul with seven starters – including the entire linebacking corps – gone. 

Utah State might be in the spot now where it’s about the system as much as the players. The program will never get the five-star recruits, but the guys it does get fits the type of prospect the Aggies are able to cycle through and get to produce.

At least that’s the hope.

However, going to another bowl game and coming up with a winning season is fine no matter what. Anything more than that sets the tone for a potentially huge 2017.