Mike Hlas is an award-winning columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and force behind The Hlog. Each week he will break down the biggest mismatches in college football. Considering the increasing number of Bowl Championship Series teams scheduling games against cupcake opponents, Mike's task is more complex than waiting for your bailout package to arrive.
It’s a two-hour bus ride from Brigham Young University to Utah State, but the schools’ football programs are a little farther apart.
Seven thousand light years, to be precise.
Friday night, the mighty Cougars of Provo visit the humble Aggies of Logan. The last 11 times BYU played Utah State on a Friday, BYU won. They could play each other on Monday, Tuesday, Groundhog Day or every single day of National Baked Beans Month, and the Cougars would win.
The facts: BYU the current longest winning streak in I-A football at 14. Utah State has won one in a row after starting the season with three losses, but that triumph was over Idaho. Which should only count as a half-win, since the Vandals lost 70-0 at Arizona and fell last week at lowly San Diego State by 28 points.
BYU is ranked eighth in the country. Utah State is 1-46 all-time against ranked opponents.
BYU’s last two games were wins of 59-0 against UCLA and 44-0 over Wyoming. Utah State has lost 66-24 to Oregon and 58-10 to Utah.
In Utah State’s eight games against ranked foes under coach Brent Guy, the Aggies have fallen by an average of 40 points. Friday, they’re going up against BYU quarterback Max Hall, who has 15 touchdown passes in four games and has completed 74.3 percent of his throws. So the Cougars should get that 40-point edge by, oh, five minutes into the second quarter.
Hall is one of the many BYU players who have gone on LDS missions and are older than many of their opponents’ head coaches. Actually, Max turns 23 this month. He’s a junior.
Utah State’s last winning season was 1996. Until it stops scheduling the other two I-A programs from Utah, the Aggies won’t become bowl-eligible until, oh, seven thousand light years from now.