In 2006 I was 12 years old.
I remember watching a few football games on TV with my dad, but I never played growing up and really didn’t have a ton of reason to be interested. That all changed on a beautiful September day when my uncle took me to my first ever college football game at what was then Romney Stadium to watch the Aggies play against Utah.
I distinctly remember walking through the south gates of the stadium, ticket in hand. I remember watching the field appear from behind the concourse as we walked closer to our seats. I remember getting my first view of the entire field and of the stadium which surrounded it and the magical feeling that was there. In that moment, I was hooked.
Utah State lost 48-0.
I guess I knew that Utah State was bad at football. I would hear my family talk about it sometimes, and kids and teachers at school would sometimes make fun of the team. Not even to mention that well over half of the people in the stands of that game were dressed in red rather than blue. But nothing could have prepared me for the beating I saw Utah State take that day.
Yet for some reason, I knew I was an Aggie for life. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I just like the underdog. Maybe I just wanted to copy my uncle’s unwavering support of the team. Maybe it was the fourth-generation Aggie blood in me. I don’t know.
The 2006 season was the worst season in the history of Utah State football. Head Coach Brent Guy led the Aggies to a 1-11 season, their lone win coming in a homecoming thriller over Fresno State when true freshman phenom Riley Nelson checked into the game to lead USU to a 13-12 victory over the 1-4 Bulldogs.
Starting the season 0-4 after losses to Wyoming, Arkansas, Utah, and BYU, the Aggies had been outscored by a total of 144-7. Things really didn’t get much better from there, losing to Idaho by 20, Hawaii by 53, Nevada by 42, Boise State by 39. In total, the team was outscored 462 points to 130, their average loss being by 27.7 points.
The saddest part about all of this? This wasn’t something surprising to USU fans or unprecedented to the program. In fact, prior to that, the Aggies had just two winning seasons in the past 25 years. Following that, they had four more seasons of four wins or less before the program started to turn around.
You may ask why I’m writing this. What point am I trying to get across? I guess I just want to give perspective to this 6-6 season which many fans feel disappointed by.
This isn’t me telling everyone to be happy with six wins every year. It’s more about me reminding everyone to look how far we’ve come that six wins with a good possibility of a bowl game and a potential seventh victory is a let down.
From 1984-2010, Utah State went 104-200-1 and made it to a total of two bowl games in 50 years. Since that point, the Aggies have been 52-39 and, assuming they get into a bowl game, it will be their sixth in seven seasons.
I firmly believe that the Utah State football team is trending in the right direction, and it is light years ahead of where it was just ten years ago. While last year was incredibly underwhelming for Aggie faithful, the team doubled its win total this season — never an easy task.
Next year’s squad loses exactly two starters on offense, and two starters on defense. They bring back an exciting freshman quarterback, entire offensive and defensive lines intact, and a coach who is fired up and wants to win more than anything.
Don’t let a 6-6 season deter your fandom. Don’t give up on this team or on the coaching staff. If you do, you’re going to miss out on some really fun years of Aggie football ahead of us.