The Top 10 reasons why it’s great to be an Aggie in 2013-14
By: Kyle Heywood
10: Aggies going to the NFL
Since 2011, six Utah State players have been drafted into the NFL. Three other Aggie greats were listed on preseason rosters for NFL teams despite not being drafted this year. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If you have a chance to rub shoulders with an Aggie football player (whether it’s around the valley, on campus, in class, etc.) you might want to snag an autograph and a picture because there is a good chance he’ll be playing in the league soon.
9: Non-football sports doing well
We hear a lot about our football and men’s basketball teams, but Aggie athletes are improving and standing out all over the place. USU’s women’s soccer team had an incredible 13-2-6 overall record last season while going undefeated in conference play and winning the WAC tournament. Our women’s basketball and volleyball teams are looking to make noise in the MWC. Our hockey remains dominant. Baseball recently won the National Championship for club teams. I really could go on and on. Make sure you don’t miss out on attending some of these games.
8: School Leadership
I really can’t stress enough how lucky we are to have Stan Albrecht as USU’s President. He took the helm in 2005 and since then has done an incredible job of improving the university. He hired Scott Barnes in 2008 and those two brought in Gary Anderson. This Anderson guy kinda sorta was a big deal at USU the last few years.
Albrecht and Barnes have made a concerted effort of raising funds for athletics. This leads to improved facilities and coaches’ salaries across the board. Thank these guys the next time you get a chance. We’re in good hands.
7: Mountain West Conference
I really wanted to put this closer to #1 but, believe it or not, there were several other things that make me even more excited. USU was THIS close to really being left out in the cold with conference realignment. Instead of playing Boise State in football and a host of basketball powerhouses every year, we were very close to playing teams such as Grand Canyon, Chicago State, and UMKC (if you even know who that is.)
Make your way to Romney Stadium and the Spectrum this year to witness some of the greatest competition USU has ever had. Want more good news? We’re good enough to beat these teams!
6: We’re not BYU
Yes this is kind of a “Haha” reason, but seriously, you should be grateful. While the University of Utah made its way to the 12-PACk recently, USU is closing the gap on BYU as the other relevant school in Utah. BYU’s venture into independence isn’t going as they hoped, while USU on the other hand is making huge strides in facilities, recruiting and most importantly… the win column.
Plus, we can stay out as late as we want.
5: New Branding/Logo/Uniforms
2012-13 was the first year with the new logo and uniforms from Nike. If I may be so bold, we were one of the best dressed teams in ANY sport across the country, but the athletes weren’t the only ones looking good. Locker 42 and the campus bookstore have stocked their shelves with gear that students, alumni and other fans can snag for a pretty good price. If you missed the chance to buy some of this new gear, get on that. If you already have some, get more.
4: New Facilities
I went up and walked around the stadium and surrounding buildings the other day and WOW! That place looks completely different than it did just a few years ago. Thanks to some major donors and some serious fundraising by our aforementioned school officials, USU now has some of the sweetest facilities in the country for our athletes. The North End zone Complex, the Wayne Estes Center and the Strength and Conditioning Center highlight a vast array of buildings that improve the USU experience for our student-athletes. This is huge for recruiting as well as performance by our athletes both on the field and in the classroom.
3: Basketball in the #1 conference
Utah State has had at least 20 wins every season since 1998-99. Let that sink in. The Aggies have been dominant in basketball for a while now, but it’s time to step up to the next level. The Mountain West was the #1 ranked basketball conference in the country last year. Teams such as San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV, Colorado State and even Boise State have had incredible teams as of late. If you had a hard time getting excited to watch USU play UT-Arlington last season, you’ll be licking your chops when the Lobos or Rebels come to town. Not to mention we have Nevada back in our conference. Repeat of 2009 anyone?
Even with the increase in competition, USU basketball is ready for the challenge. Jarred Shaw, Preston Medlin, Spencer Butterfield, Marcel Davis and the miracle that is Danny Berger are all back. Add to the mix Jordan Stone, TeNale Roland and a host of newcomers such as Jalen Moore, Viko Noma’aea, Carson Shanks and JoJo McGlaston and you have a team ready to make the climb to the Mountain West.
2: Football Success
When I was a freshman at USU (2007-08), football was a little better than it was the year before… that is we won two games instead of one. I almost couldn’t believe it when we went 11-2 last year with our losses coming by a combined five points. This year we are one of the favorites to play in the inaugural MWC Championship Game. It feels good to be a USU football fan now and guess what; the Aggies are here to stay.
While there are several seniors on this team, the young guys are going to continue the winning ways for a few more seasons. Remember that Chuckie Keeton is only going to be a junior this year and Kyler Fackrell is only going to be a sophomore. There are several other youngsters who will make Aggie football fun to watch but I mention these two because when you get around them you really need to follow my autograph advice from reason #10. They will both be in the NFL soon. Don’t miss out on them now though! You can watch them play for much less money and for a team you like much better.
1: School Pride and the HURD
This is the heart and soul of Aggie athletics. If it weren’t for the fans and supporters, none of the rest of this list would matter. The HURD became all-inclusive of the entire student section last year and that was huge. We pride ourselves in having one of the smartest and most exciting student sections in the country and that needs to continue. Be creative, be original, be funny!
And that goes for every other fan as well. This really is the golden age of Aggie athletics (so far) so don’t sit on your butt and let it play out. Join with the rest of us and jump and cheer and shout and scream for your Aggies.
I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a school. Thank you fans for all you do and remember… there are plenty of reasons why it’s great to be an Aggie!