Utah State Football: First Look At The 2023 Schedule
The Aggies expect to remain in the mix for another conference title after a disappointing 2022. What can we learn from their schedule for this fall?
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Getting back on top won’t be easy.
The Utah State Aggies learned what their conference schedule looked like earlier this month and, in order to match their unexpected rise to the top of the Mountain West in 2021, they’ll need to navigate a path which features a number of potential speed bumps.
The @USUFootball schedule for 2023 is out! 👀#AggiesAllTheWay #CollegeFootball https://t.co/E7zylCkB8D
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 2, 2023
Here’s what the week-by-week schedule looks like with Bill Connelly’s preseason SP+ rankings, where Utah State is 118th overall, in parentheses:
Saturday, September 2 – at Iowa (27)
Saturday, September 9 – vs. Idaho State (79th among FCS teams)
Saturday, September 16 – at Air Force (77)
Saturday, September 23 – vs. James Madison (65)
Saturday, September 30 – at UConn (120)
Saturday, October 7 – vs. Colorado State (119)
Saturday, October 14 – vs. Fresno State (67)
Saturday, October 21 – at San Jose State (103)
Saturday, November 4 – at San Diego State (80)
Saturday, November 11 – vs. Nevada (107)
Saturday, November 18 – vs. Boise State (68)
Saturday, November 25 – at New Mexico (132)
What are the biggest initial takeaways?
1. Will an early conference game be a good or a bad thing?
Because of Air Force’s atypical scheduling with Navy and Army every year, the Falcons usually lead off conference play and, this year, the Aggies will hit the road to open their own Mountain West slate.
Opening the season at Iowa will be an uphill battle, but hosting FCS Idaho State should make for an effective tune-up before Utah State gets their chance at a leg up in the conference. They’ve had Air Force’s number in the last two seasons, winning by a combined 11 points in 2021 and 2022, so the very first conference tilt could end up being one of the most important ones all season.
2. The tough draws at home are spread out.
James Madison came out strong in their first year at the FBS level, but the Dukes are just one among a few difficult assignments that the Aggies will have to manage in Logan this fall. The good news is that Utah State will get a reprieve between hosting Fresno State in mid-October and then hosting Boise State just over a month later, so while they aren’t alone in hosting both the Bulldogs and Broncos throughout 2023, it’ll make the other home dates that much more important.
3. The California trio could shape the season’s ultimate outcome.
Playing a reloading Fresno State at home is one thing, but a subsequent two-game road swing against the Aztecs and Spartans is another. Like the Aggies, both harbor expectations of reaching a bowl and contending for a berth in the conference championship, so the pressure will be on to maintain the program’s recent track record of success in both places: Utah State has won the last two at San Diego State in 2019 and 2021, and they’ve won five straight in San Jose dating back to 2010.
Hardest stretch: vs. Fresno State, at San Diego State, at San Jose State
Easiest stretch: at UConn, vs. Colorado State
Guaranteed wins: vs. Idaho State
Guaranteed losses: at Iowa
Worse than 50/50 games: at Air Force, vs. James Madison, vs. Fresno State, at San Diego State, vs. Boise State
50/50 games: vs. Colorado State, at San Jose State
Better than 50/50 games: at UConn, vs. Nevada, at New Mexico
Preliminary projected record: 6-6