Utah State-USC: What Trojan fans think of the Aggies and quarterback Chuckie Keeton

Published: Saturday, Sept. 21 2013 10:25 a.m. MDT

Quarterback Chuckie Keeton of the Utah State Aggies warms up before the game against the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

USC comment boards reveal that respect for the Utah State football team is marginal, but adoration for Chuckie Keeton is immense.

Opinion by Trojan fans about the Aggies and its Heisman candidate quarterback have not been short in forums hosted by ESPN.com, CBSSports.com and Rivals.com. Viewpoints of USU have led to not just individual comments but an entire thread devoted to the topic. Meanwhile, general concern has been expressed about what Keeton, who leads the nation in touchdown passes, might be able to do in Los Angeles.

With appreciation for the Aggies’ blowout wins but a focus on their season-opening loss to Utah, USC fans often seem to lean toward their team prevailing. As of Saturday morning, all of the 64 individuals who contributed to a thread by CBSSports.com’s USC.247Sports.com wrote that the Trojans would win — and the average margin of victory was 16.7. Nine had USU losing by 28 points or more.

ESPN.com’s “We are SC” forum seemed more moderate. Twenty-four of 31 fans who participated in a poll there said that the Trojans would win. A handful of comments featured concern of USU’s high offensive output (the Aggies rank eighth nationally in scoring), outside of the dual threat of Keeton.

“There's been so much discussion of a Utah State 'upset' this week that, really, it wouldn't be much of an upset, would it?” Tom Haire wrote for Rivals’ USCFootball.com. “The Aggies have spent the last four seasons inching closer and closer to a big win over a BCS conference opponent — losing by eight at Texas A&M in 2009, by seven at Oklahoma in 2010, by four at Auburn in 2011, and by two at Wisconsin in 2012. Many believe Keeton's magic moment is about to arrive.”

USC is a 6.5-point favorite.

Many Trojan fans feel that a loss would be embarrassing enough to justify the firing of USC head coach Lane Kiffin. In another ESPN.com poll, 53 believe Kiffin, who is in his fourth year on the job, should go if USU wins, while 16 think otherwise.

“Utah State is actually quite good. They might be our strongest out-of-conference opponent this year,” KevinJPPark added. “Actually I'd rather play (Notre Dame) in (Los Angeles) than Utah State in Utah for example this season.”

A common thought among all three boards is that implications of the Aggies’ defeat by the Utes in Salt Lake City mean that USU will not be able to keep up with USC. After beating USU, Utah lost to Oregon State, which lost its opener to Eastern Washington of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Others have rejected such a linear line.

USU’s throttling of Air Force (1-2) and Weber State of the Football Championship Subdivision have often not been convincing, either.

“Utah State against lousy teams has put up numbers. Let’s see how they do against our ‘D’,” headmanjones7 wrote. “A 2-2 record against weak competition is unacceptable. If (USU) puts up more than 35 points then it might be close.”

The Trojan defense ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense, while inversely, USU rose to eighth in the nation in scoring after its blowout wins.

Other USC fans among the oft-fiery commenters are generally tired of Kiffin.

“Utah State is a really good team that will challenge our defense. They are more than capable of beating us a lot of other good teams,” wrote BOULDER TO BIRMINGHAM. “That said, regardless of the outcome Saturday, Kiffin must go.”

Scores of fans are concerned about Keeton. The junior in 2012 set four USU single-season passing records and another in rushing in 2012 before being named to several watch lists this fall.

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