Sep 14, 2012
Another Day, Another Monumental Challenge
Really though, it's one thing to win big games on national TV versus the perennial best team in the State of Utah. That said a whole lot and definitely grabbed a lot of people's attention. If you go into the heart of Big Ten country though, in a madhouse like Madison has, against a program like Wisconsin and pull off a win, it's a whole different level. At that point, not only would Utah State have the nation's attention, but they'd all be hanging on the Aggies' every word.
And the intriguing thing about this is that a win looks like a very real possibility, if not just a straight-up good chance of happening. I'm not about to call it a lock like Eddie George did, because it's not. Also thanks to the O.G. Madden Curse for saying that and probably getting the Wisconsin guys all pissed off at a former Buckeye dissing them. Obviously at this point if USU loses, my blame is landing squarely on George's shoulders.
There's still good reason why Wisconsin opened as 13.5 point favorites or whatever it was. They're big, they're strong as hell, they've got Montee Ball, and now they're all pissed off. As good as Utah State has looked, and as terrible as Wisconsin has looked, this is still an incredibly tough challenge for the Aggies.
One bad game like Wisconsin had against Northern Iowa, but still coming out with a win is a great way to make a team think, "Man, we sucked ass today but still won. We got this."
Then to come out against Oregon State and get stuffed like they did, that'll make a team think, "Oh s***!! We aren't worth much as a team if we don't really buckle down and play hard."
Now they're going to be looking to prove something, which makes this some crappy timing for Utah State. Not to mention, every big team we play for the foreseeable future will point to that Auburn game from last year and say, "Don't sleep on these guys!"
Through two games for the Aggies, they manhandled an FBS team in their opener, unlike Wisconsin, even though Southern Utah likely isn't as good as Northern Iowa. USU followed it up with a win over an actually good Pac-12 team when they beat Utah, while Wisconsin mustered only 75 yards of total offense through three quarters in a loss against a crappy Pac-12 team.
With Wisconsin's passing game looking shaky at best, one would think that their favorite to win the Heisman might have put the team on its back quite a bit, but that just hasn't been the case so far. Ball has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry so far this season. he needed 32 carries to get 120 yards against NIU, and was only able to rack up 61 yards against OSU. Those same Beavers allowed Utah's John White to run up 205 yards on them last year, so maybe they've improved quite a bit, and not to take credit away from them, but something ain't right with the Badgers.
One has to think that Wisconsin is going to get things figured out sooner rather than later, especially after last week's wake-up call, but that's all easier said than done. Danny O'Brien hasn't shown anything to indicate that he'd be a reliable deep threat, and USU probably has the best defense that the Badgers have faced through these first three games. With the speed in the defensive backfield and the run-stopping ability that USU has shown so far, things could get tricky all over again for Wisconsin, to the point where all the Aggies might need to do is NOT allow a couple big plays to burn them.
Doubtful that it ends up that simple though. USU's offense is still going to have to battle to put up points, and probably a handful of them. If they can come out and score first to let Wisconsin know they mean business, and maybe even create some of that "Here we go again" type of doubt in the Badgers' minds, this upset could indeed happen. The worst thing to happen though would be for Wisconsin to come out, score a couple times early and get the "We're back" mentality flowing.
The Aggies need to come out swinging once again and be perfectly on point. If Chuckie Keeton showed us anything against Auburn last year, it's that he can handle the pressure of a tough environment. If he can get Utah State up on the scoreboard early, the world might be in for one hell of a shocker from the Aggies, only this team looks like they know how to finish those kinds of things now!!