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Is Utah State Really That Bad Of A Team?

I know that everyone is a bit peeved that we didn't perform better against Utah State, and I think that a lot of that annoyance comes from the perception that Utah State is a "below average" team. But are they?

Under previous coach Brent Guy, the Aggies never finished with more than 3 wins, but last year they posted a 4-8 record under new coach Gary Andersen, and tied for 6th place in the WAC. Consider that 3 of their 8 losses came by less than a touchdown and they played Texas A&M to an 8 point loss at Kyle Field. I think that it's fair to say that the Aggies have already improved under the new coach.

As a junior in 2009, Diondre Borel threw 17 touchdowns against 4 interceptions, competed 59% of his passes, and had a passer rating of 137.83. This put him at 35th in the nation based on passer rating, ahead of guys like Taylor Potts, Jerrod Johnson, Todd Reesing, Jake Locker, and yes, even Landry Jones. You might even call the 3 picks he threw against OU in the last game as "uncharacteristic". Borel simply doesn't turn the ball over that much. You have to give him credit, he's a pretty talented quarterback.

Also, as has been mentioned on several message boards, Utah State was 12th nationally last year in total offense. The problem with the Aggies was never their ability to move the ball or put up points, but rather on whether or not they could slow the other team down (8th worst in FBS in total defense). This was a huge Achilles heel as they generally protected the ball well (14th in FBS in turnovers). 

It will certainly be interesting to see how Utah State performs for the rest of the season. The only ranked teams (currently) that they are scheduled to play are us and Boise State. They get games against FCS Idaho State, Louisiana Tech (who barely scraped out a win against Grambling State), Hawaii (whose defense didn't look like they could stop anything), New Mexico State (possibly one of the worst teams in FBS), Idaho, and San Jose State. If they manage to win those very winnable games, they would be a bowl eligible squad. 

Whatever happens, let's at least acknowledge that while we may have underperformed, Utah State is not that bad of a team.