2005 record: 3-8, 2-6 WAC

Head coach: Brent Guy (2nd year)

Starters returning: 12

Starters lost: 10

Preseason projection: 7th (coaches and media polls)


Sept. 2 at Wyoming

Sept. 9 at Arkansas

Sept. 16 UTAH

Sept. 23 at BYU

Sept. 30 IDAHO


Oct. 14 at San Jose St.

Oct. 21 at La. Tech


Nov. 11 at Nevada

Nov. 18 at Boise State


WHAT'S NEW: The Aggies are entering their second full season under Brent Guy. The terminology is no longer foreign and the players know what to expect. First and foremost, the Aggies must learn to win consistently on the road. Their only road win last year was at New Mexico State. It could be tough, however, with road games at Wyoming, Arkansas, BYU, Louisiana Tech and Boise State.

CIRCLE THIS DATE: Utah State must get off to a strong start — meaning a win at Wyoming on Sept. 2 — or they could start the year 0-4 before opening Western Athletic Conference play. Granted, the preseason means nothing, record-wise, but it can build confidence for league play.

YOU ALREADY KNOW: Junior QB Leon Jackson III, if he can stay healthy, has the talent to lead the offense. The Aggies will have to average more than 18.9 points to be successful in league play. A good running game will help Jackson open up the offense through the air. Keep any eye on TE Rob Myers.

YOU MAY SOON KNOW: Running back Marcus Cross, a junior college honorable mention all-American, already has the pressure on him to resurrect a virtually dead running game. Guy said he wants 100 yards out of the RB position, whether it's from one or four players. Cross, however, could average that himself.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM:Tony Pennyman, Kevin Robinson, Cross, Jackson and Myers are very talented and exciting offensive players. Defensively, the Aggies return a bundle of starters. If the offense can score and the defense can somewhat shut its opponent down, the Aggies could win a few more games than normal.

REASON FOR WORRY: Jackson is the only quarterback on the roster with a Div. I start and win. Bryan Black, Riley Nelson, Mike Affleck and Jase McCormick are unproven, and should Jackson go down, it could be a long season. Remember Troy two years ago when Black entered for an injured Travis Cox? Miserable.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO: If the Aggies somehow went 2-2 in the preseason and beat Idaho in the league opener, they would be 3-2 for the first time in many moons. If they were able to sneak out three wins in their last four road games and beat New Mexico State at home to end the season, they would be a bowl-eligible 7-5.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO: Of their first five games, the contest with Idaho is Utah State's "most winnable." Should they stumble in the preseason and lose to Idaho, they could be staring 0-7 in the face before traveling to a much-improved San Jose State and Louisiana Tech. If they can't win on the road, USU could go 1-11, with its only win over New Mexico State in the season finale with only 923 people in Romney Stadium to see it.