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National media predictions for Thursday's game: USU at Utah

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 9:31 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes wide receiver DeVonte Christopher (10) cant come up with the last chance pass as Utah State Aggies cornerback Will Davis (17) defends in Logan  Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes wide receiver DeVonte Christopher (10) cant come up with the last chance pass as Utah State Aggies cornerback Will Davis (17) defends in Logan Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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.

Utah Utes running back John White (15) is stopped by Utah State Aggies defender Jordan Nielsen (97)  in Logan  Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes running back John White (15) is stopped by Utah State Aggies defender Jordan Nielsen (97) in Logan Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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: samus_4@hotmail.com

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