<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Alright Aggie fans, it’s time to see what you’re made of.
It’s been a long time since USU football was really relevant in the middle of October. Sure, last year’s team won five in a row to close out the regular season and go to the school’s first bowl game in more than a decade, but through the first seven games, that USU team was 2-5.
Tough loss after tough loss had taken a lot of the initial excitement out of the season, and that didn’t begin to build again until Utah State was a few games into its bowl run. Sitting at 5-2 though, with what appears to be only one real tough game remaining, this Aggie team has the makings of something special.
Through three home games this season, Utah State has an average attendance of 22,249 fans per game. Considering the past few decades of USU football, that is a great number, but that is a number that will be tested this weekend.
Every few years the Aggies get hit with a trifecta of local events that hurt attendance – I call it the perfect storm.
First off, this weekend is fall break at USU, which means the students have Friday off and many leave for a long weekend. Second, it’s UEA which means all of the K-12 students have Wednesday-Friday off from school – leading to many family vacations this week. Finally, Saturday is the opening day of the deer hunt.
Combined, these events have taken a serious toll on the attendance to USU football games in the past, though the generally bad record of the Aggie football team by mid-October has played a role as well. This year is different, and this Utah State team deserves to have a full stadium on what should be a great Saturday for fall football (70 degrees!).
Consider this, with a win Saturday, the Aggies will be bowl eligible – with FOUR games remaining. If you’re a USU student, stick around and enjoy probably the best football team your school has produced in more than 40 years. If you have tickets and you’re leaving for UEA, make sure and get them to someone who will use them. If you’re a hunter, come back from your morning hunt, enjoy the game, and then get back out there.
The Aggies have three home games remaining this season including Saturday’s game against New Mexico State. All three games are very winnable, and if they Aggies sweep them – which they should – it would be the first time since 1982 that USU went undefeated at home. It would also be the first time ever a Utah State team went 6-0 at home, as the 1982 team only had four home games and the 1972 team that also went undefeated at home only had five.
I’ll say it again – this team deserves to have a full stadium.
I realize that Cache Valley is not the Salt Lake Valley or Utah County area. However, if Utah State wants to be considered in the same realm as its in-state FBS brethren, then Aggie fans need to be able to fill a 25,000 seat stadium when their team is 5-2 and has a legitimate shot to win a conference title. Those other in-state schools fill up 45,000 and 65,000 seat stadiums consistently.
The team has done its part so far Aggie fans. The crowds and atmosphere at Romney Stadium have been great this season, but as the weather cools and the conflicts arise, you need to (continue) to do your part.
Saturday against New Mexico State is your next opportunity.