Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Aggies' Marquis Butler and Stanley Morrison are making faces at being ranked the worst team by Sports Illustrated.

Ours is an age of too much information. Maybe you've noticed, if you've tried buying car insurance or choosing a cell plan lately.

So in the spirit of simplicity, I have pared down the data from the state's Division I football teams and compiled it into a clear, easy-to-read format.

Don't fret over details; I've already done that for you.

Forthwith is everything you'll need to know about Football 2008, in a modest, manageable and slightly random summary.

COACHES TO WATCH: That's easy. You need to watch all of them.

Each has an intriguing storyline.

BYU's Bronco Mendenhall is as hot as a Las Vegas parking lot. Two straight championships will do that. A third title would vault him into contention for a job at a high profile school like Washington, Iowa, Syracuse, Minnesota or Arizona.

He might even become the state's next Urban Meyer, choosing from among several lucrative offers.

And just like Meyer, he has a first name that plays well in the headlines.

Mendenhall isn't likely to stay in Provo forever, nor has he said he would. One ESPN.com columnist rated him the top non-BCS coach in the country.

The most interesting BYU story, though, might be his reaction if the Cougars struggle. When things go south is where flexibility and resilience go on display. Whether he has those qualities is hard to say, considering he hasn't had much adversity.

There's a good chance he'll land another job before we get the chance to find out. Fifty miles north, there's Utah's Kyle Whittingham, who is an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, wrapped in a Rubik's cube, wrapped in a fake blitz.

In other words, he's a hard guy to read.

On one hand, he's gold in the post-season, having won all three bowl games since becoming a head coach. On the other hand, he hasn't finished higher than third in the conference — and it's not a terribly tough conference.

A third straight loss to BYU and/or another mediocre conference season will leave Whittingham vulnerable. A terrible year will leave him jobless.

In any case, if he gets to a bowl game, don't bet against him.

Meanwhile, Utah State coach Brent Guy's contract runs through the 2009 season — but that doesn't necessarily mean his job does. Named the nation's worst team by Sports Illustrated, the Aggies say they are making progress. They did win their final two games of '07.

Still, with games this year against Utah, BYU, Oregon, Hawaii, Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State, the odds of breaking .500 aren't good.

In fact, they're downright remote.

Plan on USU beating Idaho and/or New Mexico State — both home games — and Guy pleading for patience and insisting the program is finally on the verge of success.

Is it just me, or does this sound like the argument for war in Iraq?

MUST-SEE GAMES: Be sure to tune in to Utah at Michigan this Saturday and BYU at Washington Sept. 6.

For other intriguing non-conference games, don't forget Utah vs. Oregon State and BYU vs. UCLA.

After the run of close games between Utah and BYU (Nov. 22 this year), it's about time for a blowout, isn't it? They can't keep up the last-second finishes forever.

The hard part is deciding which team will do the beating.

And for the sake of curiosity, don't forget Weber State at Utah. Ron McBride's return to Rice-Eccles should be entertaining and even endearing.

Just don't expect him to lead the band in "Utah Man" after the game.

MUST AVOID GAMES: If it's good football you're looking for, you may actually want to skip Utah-Weber, as well as BYU vs. Northern Iowa

Oh, and forget any games involving USU and its instate rivals. They're all the modern equivalent of a beheading.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Yeah, yeah, Max Hall is the greatest thing since Botox and Austin Collie is always a good (read: controversial) story at BYU.

A healthy Brian Johnson means a good Utah team. But how long will that last? Meanwhile, who knows, maybe Ute receiver Brent Casteel will win the Heisman he imagines, after all. Good stories, each of them, though I prefer less obvious angles. For instance, I want to know what's up with G Pittman, a BYU player so good he doesn't need a period after his initial.

But the really great names all belong to the Aggies: Magmum Mauga, Nnamdi Gwacham, Maxim Dinka and Emannuel Ojeriakhi.

If cool names count for anything, the Aggies are headed for one great season.


E-mail: rock@desnews.com