On Sunday, Utah State finished 22nd in the final BCS standings, the first time in school history the Aggies placed that high nationally.
The program also found out it will face Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Potato BowlUtah State vs. Toledo, Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m., Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV » ESPN
With Northern Illinois qualifying for the Orange Bowl, Kent State received a bid for the GoDaddy.com Bowl, nixing the idea of having two ranked teams face off in the Potato Bowl.
In Toledo, Utah State — ranked No. 18 by The Associated Press — will face a 9-3 team that was the third best team in the Mid-American Conference this season, a league that will send a record-setting seven teams bowling.
"We can finally get back to status quo around here," USU coach Gary Andersen said. "We can focus on us, focus on our opponent and not worry about having to deal with any other distractions. I think the kids will really welcome that."
After taking extensive time off last week, the Aggies will practice hard from Tuesday through Saturday and have a regular schedule for the first time in 14 days.
Andersen, for one, will welcome the increased workload. With practice and preparation comes the routine that he will be happy to resume after officially announcing his intentions to stay at Utah State, taking himself out of the coaching carousel.
"It’s nice to know who we’re playing," Andersen said. "I don’t think it affected us too much last week, because we were able to focus on some of the things we needed to make ourselves better. But now, we have to get ready for the game."
USU went easy last week, in order to get its players some rest and in order to focus on recruiting. The Aggies practiced lightly from Tuesday until Friday, and worked heavily with the younger players in the program who are either redshirting, or haven’t yet received a bunch of playing time.
USU, on Monday, is also expected to rake in the postseason Western Athletic Conference awards. Andersen could win coach of the year, and quarterack Chuckie Keeton is expected to be a candidate for player of the year.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.