2018 Utah State Aggies Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 6-7
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
Utah State had its third consecutive losing season in 2017 after enjoying four straight winning years from 2011-2014. On the surface, last year's sub-.500 record should be a disappointment and cause for concern if you're interested in coach Matt Wells' job security. However, if you dig a little deeper it becomes clear that Utah State's effort last fall was more impressive than it seemed and could be the springboard for a fantastic 2018.
The Aggies had 25 players earn their first career start last season. They were coming off a disastrous 3-9 effort in 2016 and got smoked 59-10 by Wisconsin and 46-10 at Wake Forest in the first three weeks of the season. Things were looking ugly. But they scrapped and clawed their way to 4-4 in league play and had three near-miss wins against Wyoming, Air Force and New Mexico State that would've gotten them above .500.
Utah State has 18 starters back from last year's squad. They now have 11 senior starters and have a plethora of experience on both sides of the ball. If this group continues to develop then they could be a potential spoiler in the Mountain Division.
Dual-threat quarterback Jordan Love was the starter for the second half of the season. He should benefit from extra bowl practices as well as being named the starter for spring ball. Now a sophomore, the big-armed Love will be the key to improving an offense that quietly averaged 30.2 points per game.
Utah State has its top three receivers back and all five starters along the offensive line, with four seniors starting up front. They do have to replace their top two rushers. But Utah State took more of a committee approach last season, anyway, so that's not as big of a deal as it seems.
The defense has to get better at stopping the run. Wells teams usually can hit with the best of them. But they have been soft on this side of the ball over the past three seasons.
The Aggies face a stiff test when they travel to Lansing to tangle with Michigan State in a Friday night opener. But after that the Aggies have a chance to build some serious momentum. The next three games are all at home against NMSU, Tennessee Tech and Air Force. Utah State then has two weeks to prep for a rivalry game against a BYU team that they pasted 40-24 last year.
Utah State also has home games against UNLV, New Mexico and San Jose State, as well as a winnable road game at Hawaii. And trips to Wyoming and Colorado State are formidable but beyond this group's reach.
I like this Aggies squad. I think they will finish the year over .500 and be a significant player in the Mountain West race. I think that their ceiling is nine wins. They won't get there. But as long as they can steal a win either at BYU, at Wyoming or at Colorado State then they should definitely get above this number.
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