Utah State football won’t have an easy path in the Mountain West Conference next season.
In fact, the Aggies may very well have their most difficult schedule in the Blake Anderson era, all while attempting to rebound from a disappointing 6-7 campaign.
The 2023-24 MW football schedule was announced Thursday — the Mountain and West divisions are no longer a thing — and USU will face three 10-win teams from last season, plus two other league teams that went bowling.
Throw in nonconference competition and Utah State will play a total of eight teams that won at least six games in 2022.
Who is Utah State playing in 2023?
The Aggies will open the season with a pair of nonconference games, at Iowa and then home against FCS foe Idaho State.
USU’s other nonconference opponents will be at home against James Madison and on the road at UConn.
The Dukes transitioned from the FCS to FBS ranks last year and won eight games overall, finishing 6-2 in the Sun Belt.
The Huskies, meanwhile, finished 6-7 and were bowl eligible for the first time since 2015 in Jim Mora Jr.’s first season at the helm.
Aggies, are you ready?🚨🚨🚨#AggiesAllTheWay https://t.co/dU0pcwfbLu pic.twitter.com/vKUGnJ5snG— USU Football (@USUFootball) March 2, 2023
Utah State will open conference play with a road game at Air Force — the Falcons were one of three 10-win teams in the MW in 2022 — and will also play at San José State, San Diego State and New Mexico.
The Aggies will host Colorado State, a 10-win team in Fresno State, Nevada and another 10-win team in Boise State.
USU will not play Wyoming, Hawaii or UNLV, outside of possible conference championship game matchups.
The Aggies are a combined 126-154 all time against their 2023 opponents.
How does the new MW division-less schedule work?
The MW is debuting a three-year schedule rotation starting in 2023, wherein programs will face two opponents annually, while the six other conference opponents are cycled in and out year by year.
Over the course of the three-year rotation, all conference teams will play each other at least twice, with a guaranteed game at home and on the road against every conference opponent.
When does spring football start for Utah State?
Per Utah State head coach Blake Anderson, the Aggies are expected to begin spring camp on March 14.
The Blue vs. White spring game will be held on Saturday, April 15, though Anderson noted that it may be more of a showcase this season, as the Aggies are still recovering from a significant rash of injuries during the 2022 season.
What does Utah State need to get better at this spring?
On national signing day, Anderson spoke at length about where the Aggies needed to improve this offseason.
In a word, everywhere.
We were 6-7. We need help everywhere. It starts on offense with the quarterback, not turning the ball over. We led the country in interceptions, it can’t happen. Whoever plays has to be able to protect the football. We have to learn to throw the ball away and punt. We can’t do other peoples jobs for them.
And it starts up front on the O-line. We’ve got to find five guys who can protect the quarterback and get us ahead of the chains, move the chains. The skill positions are a lot of fun, but if the quarterback turns the ball over or the O-line can’t protect him or block people up front it doesn’t really matter what we run or how we do it.
I think the same thing on defense. You have to be good on the D-line. We have to find, with a lot of new bodies, we have to find what that D-line can do. See if these new bodies can contribute.
We have gotten much longer on the edge at corner. ... That has been a position that has been an issue in one-on-one situations. Those are a few key positions group, but man, we need help at every single position. We have to get better at every single position. We need a phenomenal spring, competitive period to get that. — Utah State head coach Blake Anderson