Despite doing better than Boise State last season en route to a Mountain Division title, media from the Mountain West Conference still do not believe the Utah State Aggies are better than the Broncos--even if BSU lost legendary head coach Chris Peterson this off-season.
The media members assigned to cover Mountain West Conference teams picked the Aggies--who defeated Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl--to finish second in the Mountain Division behind Boise State on Tuesday, July 22 at the conference's annual media day in Las Vegas.
The somewhat shocking prediction tells you one thing: will the Aggies ever get the respect it deserves? It seems like Utah State goes through this rigamarole every year--only to have media say the same thing: Utah State just isn't good enough to compete with Boise State.
The Aggies were picked to finish second in a conference despite having Chuckie Keeton, a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender who, should he remain healthy, live up to the same media's hype that named him the conference's preseason offensive player of the year.
How lopsided were conference media in selecting Boise State? 20 out of 33 media members picked the Broncos to win the division and the conference. Even if Peterson has long since departed Boise and the Broncos finished third overall in conference last year, it made absolutely no difference to the sportswriters, talking heads on TV and radio shock-jocks from Albuquerque to Boise and points between who comprised this list of people voting.
That Logan, Utah isn't exactly a media bastion probably didn't help the Aggies' cause. But to pick the Broncos, who lost their head coach, had significant off-the-field issues and well, lost the only head coach who ever led Boise to BCS glory (not to beat a dead horse or anything) smacks of stupidity--and too many memories of those days gone by Fiesta Bowls in the sun.
Those Fiesta Bowls are long gone, you know. Utah State is a team that returns 14 starters and 36 lettermen, according to the Aggies' Web site, including Keeton, a team that over-achieved and thumped Northern Illinois at the Poinsettia Bowl. Compare that to Boise State, who has 15 starters and 47 lettermen--but over half are red shirts. The Broncos under-achieved last season, posting its worst record in over a decade while its quarterback Grant Hedrick threw for a measly 161 yards per game.
Media may argue that Boise State did defeat Utah State last season--and it's true. But this is a Broncos team in turmoil--not a team that busted the BCS with a proven quarterback, a revolutionary system and a legendary head coach. The Aggies are a team on the rise with a Heisman contender at QB, a revolutionary system in place and a hot head coach.
As for Utah State, it will have to prove its worth on the field--because it's obvious conference media can't see the forest from the trees that surround Bronco Stadium.