The Utah State Aggies have improved drastically over the past few seasons, going from one of the worst teams in the nation to a borderline top-25 team. The Aggies have also garnered more respect with their newfound success, as they are no longer considered one of the proverbial punching bags of college football.
This week, Utah State took another step forward, getting a home-and-home deal with in-state powerhouse BYU.
The deal turns what would have been a three-year BYU two-for-one into a four-year home-and-home. The contract extends the in-state series through 2016.
Utah State, long considered the "little brother" to Utah and BYU, has been pushing for a home-and-home for a while. Former coach Gary Andersen made it a common talking point in his interviews.
Until recently, BYU had no reason to give Utah State a home-and-home. USU's Romney Stadium has well less than half the capacity of BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium, making the game much more profitable if played in Provo.
BYU also didn't need the game. Utah State had a terrible team, and BYU had a perennial top-25 team. Utah State fans considered BYU a rival, but BYU fans just viewed the game as a "cupcake" game.
While BYU has still won two of the last three games against USU, it is no longer considered a guaranteed win for the Cougars. For the first time in decades, playing Utah State is actually beneficial for BYU. The Aggies are a competitive team now, and a Utah State- BYU game is attractive to television broadcasters.
BYU was also in need of a late-season game for 2016, and the Aggies were in a position to hold out for a home-and-home in order to give BYU that needed game.
Overall, Utah State may still not be near Utah or BYU's level as a program, but the Aggies are slowly making progress. Getting the home-and-home should make Aggie fans happy and provide a platform off of which to build for the future.