Utah State: All the Aggies do to open their season is go on the road to go up against Auburn, the defending national champion. But after that, there's a home game with Weber State and another one with Colorado State. A road game at BYU, who USU soundly beat last season, follows, and then the Aggies alternate home-and-away games with Wyoming, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, San Jose State, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico State.
If everything falls into place, Utah State should have a winning season for the first time since the last-90s.
Predicted finish: 7-5.
Weber State: The Wildcats' season starts with a pair of road games against beatable Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents in Wyoming and Utah State. After that, they jump into Big Sky play by hosting Sacramento State, playing at defending Football Championship Subdivision national champ Eastern Washington, and back home with Idaho State.
Then Southern Utah comes to Ogden, followed by a road game against perennial Big Sky power Montana. Home games with Montana State and Northern Arizona follow, and the Wildcats finish the season up at Portland State.
With only five home games, it'll be tough to finish over .500.
Predicted finish: 6-5.
Southern Utah: Sorensen was picked as the Great West Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 21 touchdowns and a school-record 3,231 yards last year.
The Thunderbirds are hoping for more of the same this season with a schedule that, with only four home games, is not conducive for success.
After opening the season at South Dakota State, SUU hosts Sacramento State and Texas-San Antonio in consecutive weeks, then plays beatable FBS foe UNLV at Las Vegas. Then comes a home game with North Dakota, followed by three straight road games at South Dakota, Cal Poly and Weber State. The T-birds' final home game with UC Davis is followed by road games at Northern Iowa and Northern Arizona.
Predicted finish: 6-5.
So there you have it — all five "Big Five" schools with winning records.
Of course, this same writer predicted that scenario last year, when Utah State limped home with a 4-8 record while BYU and Weber State both fell somewhat short of the success predicted for them.
Utah and Southern Utah, though, exceeded our expectations last year, reminding us once again that although it's fine and fun to come up with a football forecast, when it comes to what really happens on the field ... that's why they play the games.
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