Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 Sports.com. With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.
No. 5 Utah State
Location: Logan, Utah.
Conference: Western Athletic.
Coach: Brent Guy, 6-29 in three seasons.
Division I-A history: 477-475-31 in 110 seasons, .501 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 1997.
Best record in last five years: 3-8 in 2004, 2005.
Rank(ed) because: Hard to believe but this program actually is on the sunny side of .500 in its 110 seasons. Coaches like John Ralston, Bruce Snyder, Charlie Weatherbie and John L. Smith have called Logan home. But the Aggies have never been more than an afterthought on the national scene. Utah State has won only 25 games in the 21st century. As members of the Sun Belt (two seasons) and the WAC (three seasons), the Aggies have a 10-28 composite conference record.
Negative number: In Guy's three seasons, the Aggies' victory totals make a fine area code — 312. That's six victories against 29 losses. Even with that sorry record, Guy received a vote of confidence from new athletic director Scott Barnes. (However, a vote of confidence is never a good thing and coming from a new boss is even worse.)
Possible victory: Idaho, Sept. 20. The Aggies defeated the Vandals, on the road, in the 2007 season finale. Utah State has to hope for a repeat performance against a fellow Bottom 25 team.
Biggest blowout: At Oregon, Sept. 6: The Ducks will be looking for a big score to gain the attention of the poll voters.
Is there hope?: Guy finally has 85 scholarship players and he has played dozens of freshmen during his three seasons. The experience has to turn into victories. Winning the last two games (both on the road) of 2007 would seem to indicate the momentum is building. But if Utah State doesn't figure out a way to juice up its offense (115th total, 101st in scoring), competing in the high-scoring WAC will be difficult.
Thanks to the Helmet Project.