Aggie football's an old dog whose
time has come -- just shoot it
Editor's note: This column was written before USU's
loss to Idaho State, in which the Aggies scored 21.
By Tyler Riggs
Octboer 2, 2006 | Sometimes you have to shoot a sick
dog. It's no surprise to any fan of Utah State football
that this year's team is struggling.
Through their first four games, the Aggies scored
seven points, and they came in the second quarter of
the season opener against the University of Wyoming.
Against SEC powerhouse Arkansas? Shutout.
In-state rival Utah? Goose egg.
Brigham Young University? Bagel.
Oh, the humanity.
We're not saying that it's forbidden for the team
to struggle, but consider this: Right now the coaching
staff of the football team combined makes upwards of
$700,000 annually. That's $100,000 for each point scored
in the first four Aggie games.
' Nearly $8 million worth of money from student fees
is being used to build a new locker room and training
complex for USU athletes -- a training complex that
likely will largely be off limits to regular students.
Meanwhile, attendance at football games is dwindling,
support is at an all-time low, while the number of athletes
being arrested for off-field problems is at an all-time
high. Some would argue that the off-field problems are
happening as a result of the caliber of player that
head coach Brent Guy is forced to recruit to Logan to
turn the program around.
It could be that. Or it could be that NCAA Division
1-A football cannot succeed in Logan.
Look at powerhouse football programs across the country:
The Ohio State University, The University of Texas,
and The University of Southern California have huge
population bases to draw fans from.
And even when there isn't a large population base
to draw from, as is the case at the University of Wyoming
in Laramie, tradition -- and support from a Legislature
that is full of alumni -- can help greatly.
Utah State is not now, and likely won't be in the
future, that lucky. They won't be that lucky because
they have to compete directly with The University of
Utah for funds, and indirectly with BYU, schools to
which many Utahns likely are more loyal to.
Many people lamenting the situation USU athletics,
and particularly football, find itself in often defer
to the "chicken or the egg" argument. Good football
at USU can't happen without great facilities. Those
don't come without money, and money doesn't come without
fan support. Of course, fan support doesn't come without
a winning football team.
And there we've gone full circle.
Supporters wonder when the community at large is going
to step up and pay a few dollars to help the team, but
perhaps the better question is, when will the supporters
shoot this dying dog?
It's the right analogy. Football at USU is the old
dog you knew as a child, the dog that had some good
days, but most of the time sat in the front yard, with
his only movement being a gentle turn of the head when
cars drove by. He's sick, and needs to be put down.
So does USU football.
Certainly with that dog, there may have been some
level of veterinary care that could have saved him,
and with enough money, USU football might be able to
But that leaves us with two good options now: Either
community members need to step up and help students
fund the program, or put the program out of its misery.
After all, does anyone really enjoy seeing a program
that has millions of dollars invested in it get embarrassed
so badly each week on the field?