<strong>LOGAN—</strong> The second half of Utah State’s inaugural season in the Mountain West Conference kicks off with a bang as the Aggies welcome league co-champion and perennial BCS-Buster Boise State into Romney Stadium. After playing four of their first six games of the 2013 season on the road, the Aggies will enjoy the familiar turf of Merlin Olsen Field for four of the final six contests. Following Boise State, the remaining teams on USU’s schedule had a combined record of 17-45 in 2012, setting up what appears to be an easy home stretch to the season.
Below is a look at what the Aggies face in their final six games.
Boise State (11-2, 7-1 in 2012) – 2012 was another double-digit win season for the Broncos, but Boise clearly took a step back from the Kellen Moore led teams of the previous few years. The Broncos shared the conference crown with San Diego State (whom they lost to) and Fresno State, but struggled at times offensively and didn’t look as dominant as the did in the past. The Mountain Division title of the Mountain West Conference may depend on this Oct. 12 game though, and should be a battle. The Broncos lead the all-time series with USU, 13-4, with the last matchup coming in 2010 when Boise was a member of the WAC.
New Mexico (4-9, 1-7 in 2012) – The Lobos continue to struggle in the college football world, though they made some strides in 2012. Unfortunately for New Mexico, it may be hard to keep that momentum going in 2013, as the Lobos are near the bottom of the FBS as they only return 11 starters. Though this is a road game, this marks the start of what appears to be an easy final stretch for the Aggies. New Mexico does lead the all-time series, 11-8.
Hawaii (3-9, 1-7 in 2012) – The Warriors endured an eight game losing streak during the middle of the 2012 season, and have been in steady decline since making a BCS appearance behind Colt Brennan in 2007. However, Hawaii is tied for fifth in the country as the Warriors return 18 starters from last year’s squad. The all-time series between USU and Hawaii is tied at 6-6, with the last win being the incredible come-from-beyond victory on the island by the Aggies in 2011. That win propelled USU from 2-5 to 7-5 and its first bowl game since 1997 and laid the groundwork for the incredible 2012 campaign.
UNLV (2-11, 2-6 in 2012) – The Rebels only picked up two wins during the 2012 season, but both of those game against conference foes as UNLV won home games against Air Force and New Mexico. Despite the seeming continual struggles of UNLV, this team has something in common with Mountain West foe Hawaii, in that the Rebels return a lot of experience from last year’s team with 18 returning starters. Utah State leads the all-time series against UNLV, including a 35-13 victory in Logan last year.
Colorado State (4-8, 3-5 in 2012) – The Rams endured a five game losing streak in 2012, including a 31-19 home loss to Utah State. The Aggies will be looking to get revenge for a 35-34 overtime loss in Romney Stadium in 2011. USU’s series with CSU is one of the most played in school history, and the Rams currently hold a slight 36-31-2 lead.
Wyoming (4-8, 3-5 in 2012) – Utah State will close its inaugural Mountain West season with a home game against Wyoming, a team they last faced in Romney Stadium in 2011 and defeated, 63-19. The Cowboys don’t appear to be near the top tier of the Mountain West, but did finish the 2012 season on a high note, winning three of their last four. Those wins included road wins at UNLV and New Mexico, and a home win against Colorado State. This is another opponent that Utah State is very familiar with, as the Aggies hold a 35-24-4 advantage in the all-time series.
<em>This is part two of a two part series looking at the 12 regular season games the Utah State University football team will play in 2013. Part one looked at the first six games on the 2013 schedule.</em>