The Utah college football season kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 29, with Utah State playing at Utah in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Aggies and the Utes have met more than 100 times in the Battle of the Brothers.
Picks from major news outlets like Fox Sports and ESPN show a range of differing opinions about Thursday's matchup. Fox Sports, with the boldest prediction thus far, has the Aggies as an 11-point favorite at Utah. Fox notes that before joining the Pac-12, Utah had a great run of success, but they have since struggled with the tougher league. The Aggies, by snapping a 12-game losing streak to the Utes last season, finally have a bit of momentum on their side. Fox says USU shouldn't skip a beat on offense with Keeton's return at QB.
Scout.com has the Aggies as a 4-point favorite at Rice-Eccles. Scout says that while "Utah has home field advantage and a far more experienced staff, Utah State has Keeton." It cites him as a real game-changer who can hush a packed stadium in a hurry. The Scout prediction finishes by saying that after beating the Utes a year ago, the experience on USU's squad should make the difference.
Lastly, Sports Chat Place has the Utes as a 2.5-point favorite. Revenge is cited as a key factor, along with the uncertainty that comes with a rivalry game. But the author does state he wouldn't be surprised to see the game tilt either way, mentioning that "Sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson is a game manager. Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton is a game changer."
The Utes lead the series 77-29-4. Utah State won last year's contest in Logan in overtime 27-20 against the favored Utes. It was the first game in the rivalry's history to go to overtime.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (DirecTV 219/Comcast 691) at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Sam McConkie is a technical and professional writing graduate from Utah State University. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org