The Utah State Aggies are hoping for a bounce-back campaign in 2023, more alike to their 2021 conference championship-winning season than the 2022 version that struggled to get bowl eligible.
The Aggies will get some help on that front this season, thanks to one of the easiest schedules in the Mountain West Conference.
Per ESPN’s updated Football Power Index, Utah State has the third easiest schedule in the MW in 2023, with only Colorado State and Air Force benefitting from an easier road.
The Aggies’ schedule ranks No. 118 in the country in terms of difficulty, while the Rams’ schedule is ranked No. 128 and the Falcons’ schedule ranked No. 131.
Utah State will play only one Power Five opponent during the 2023 season, Iowa in the opener on Sept. 2.
Other nonconference opponents including an FCS program in Idaho State, former FCS power (now Sun Belt Conference member) James Madison and FBS independent UConn.
The Aggies’ schedule contains some notable MW powers — Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Fresno State — but USU hosts the Broncos and Bulldogs.
Here is where every MW program’s schedule ranks in terms of difficulty for 2023, according to ESPN:
- Wyoming Cowboys — No. 74.
- UNLV Rebels — No. 78.
- San Jose State Spartans — No. 80.
- Hawaii Warriors — No. 93.
- Nevada Wolf Pack — No. 95.
- Boise State Broncos — No. 98.
- New Mexico Lobos — No. 100.
- San Diego State Aztecs — No. 101.
- Fresno State Bulldogs — No. 116.
- Utah State Aggies — No. 118.
- Colorado State Rams — No. 128.
- Air Force Falcons — No. 131.
The Aggies’ 2023 schedule lines up much better for a strong season than the 2022 slate did.
USU finished 2022 with the hardest schedule in the MW (No. 59 overall). In 2021, when the Aggies won their first MW conference championship, Utah State finished with the 107th most difficult schedule in the country, which was the fourth easiest in the MW.