College football: Other than USU, Utah's other 'Big Five' schools went SOUTH this season

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 7:45 p.m. MST

Down south in Cedar City, the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah actually had a pretty solid season in their first year as a Big Sky member.

They knocked off two of the league's top teams, Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona, and also beat perennial Big Sky power Montana — and at Missoula, Mont., no less.

But a somewhat inexplicable home-field loss to previously winless Weber State wound up preventing the T-Birds from having a winning season as they wound up 4-4 in the Big Sky and 5-6 overall.

Still, the future looks mighty bright for SUU football. Which brings us back to Logan, where the Aggies piled up a superb 10-win season, won the Western Athletic Conference championship and shoved their way into the national rankings — and prominence.

Heck, by making just a couple more field goals, Utah State could've very well finished a perfect 12-0 and been the toast of the entire college football world. As it is, they'll gladly settle for being the toast of Cache Valley and make their second straight trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

It seems like this team deserves better than another bowl game among those potato-loving folks in Boise, Idaho. But, up until a year ago, whoever thought we'd be saying that about the Utah State University football program?

Gary Andersen's coaching genius has resurrected this long-suffering school, which can definitely and proudly pound its chest as the best program in the state nowadays.

And they should be mighty glad that the Aggies, like so many of their instate counterparts, didn't go SOUTH in 2012.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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