Monson: Utah, BYU disappoint, but USU is ray of sunshine
Disappointment, at 2-2, is the condition hovering over two of the three major college football teams in the state four weeks into the season. And even the one escaping those thick, dark clouds, at 3-1, could have been perfect, instead of just mostly sunny.
Utah State is the headliner now, having beaten SUU, Utah and Colorado State, while the single loss, at Wisconsin, is yet chained to their psyche because it could and should have been a win. One do-over on a bad kick would have made them undefeated and a real darling, not just locally, but across the land.
In front of the Aggies now is 50 miles of open highway, with UNLV up next at home, then two important, but winnable road games at BYU, at San Jose State followed by New Mexico State at home, then UTSA and Texas State, and what is turning more and more into a huge game at La. Tech, before coasting home against Idaho.
That game in Provo is compelling stuff, considering the Cougars' current mess, struggling to find an offense that deserves to share the same locker room with a stellar defense. After what happened last year at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the setting calls for great emotion from USU, while BYU searches for an improved mindset and answers against Hawaii on Friday.
After Utah State, the Cougars had best have their matters attended to, facing Oregon State at home, then Notre Dame and Georgia Tech on the road. The month of November is both a breeze and somewhat meaningless, featuring a bye, and games against Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State.
Once again, BYU is on a path toward beating weaker opponents Washington State and Weber State, so far and losing to stronger ones Boise State and Utah. Although, at this juncture, placing the Utes in that favorable category is a stretch.
Not only did Arizona State defeat Utah on Saturday night, it shredded the Utes, offensively and defensively, rolling for more than 500 yards and limiting Utah to just over 200. In the first half, the Ute defense made ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly look like Aaron Rodgers and the Sun Devils offense look like the Pack.
It was a joke of an effort, fully indicated and illuminated by the numbers on the board at the half: 31-7.
Now the Utes are talking about taking time during a bye week to search their souls and rediscover their determination and dedication, every bit of which will be needed against their next opponent: USC. After that, they go on the road at UCLA and Oregon State, before breathing through Cal and Washington State at home. Their final three games are at Washington, home against Arizona and at Colorado.
For all three Utah schools, there are games still to be won and games yet to be lost. It's just that nobody has a clue now, in the positive or the negative, which games are which, not anymore.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.