Aggies on the Internet

Aggie message boards. Like an oasis in the desert for most fans of Utah State University, they stand out against the stark lack of consistent information about Aggie sports from official sources. And in an absence of official information from the head shed, one can always count on a few interested fans to step in and fill that void.

Aggies on the Internet: Fans of Big Blue take to cyberspace

Aggie message boards.  Like an oasis in the desert for most fans of Utah State University, they stand out against the stark lack of consistent information about Aggie sports from official sources.  And in an absence of official information from the head shed, one can always count on a few interested fans to step in and fill that void.

The first Aggie message board happened quite by accident.  In 1996, a few Aggies started gathering on a board operated by the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, called "You're the Coach."  The site was intended to be a place for general discussion of sports in Utah, but it wasn't long before the Aggies had literally taken over this site.  Over the next nine months, USU fans owned "You're The Coach," and we had our first real spot for discussion on the internet about what was going on in Logan.  Aggie fans Fishhack, Nimrod, Denver Ag, the Duke, the Toad and Heath, among others, frequented this site, along with fans of other Big West insitutions. All good things must come to an end, however, as the Standard was besieged by complaints from Weber State alumni over the utter domination of the board by USU fans, and eventually "You're the Coach" was shut down.

Great discussion with Big West foes was also held in those days on the KTIX.com Big West Football and Basketball site, sponsored by Boise sportstalk radio station KTIX.  This site was fun for a number of reasons. It was a lot of fun smacking with fans from Boise State and Idaho, or reading the Vandals and the Bronco's smack each other around.  But I also made friends with Boise State fans "Bronco Bob" Hubler and "BAA" Clint Bolinder and others on this site, and that friendship remains to this day.  We always get together at Buster's in Boise, for pre-game food and festivities whenever the Aggies are in Boise.

After these two sites were discontinued, Aggie fans then began what seemed like an "every six months move" around the internet.  First, we moved to boards operated by Sports Only.com.  There was a USU board, and a Big West Board.  These lasted about a year as well, before mysteriously going down overnight one day.  They were followed by the old "Sitepowerup.com" Aggie Blue site that gave us a place to meet for a while.  But these were very basic sites with nothing special about them.  Just a place to congregate and spread the latest dope on the Aggies.

What soon followed, though, was the first real home for Aggie posters, Jared Eborn's famous "TrueAggies" site on Rivals.com.  TrueAggies was truly the forerunner of today's UStateAgs.com.  TrueAggies featured all of the articles, news, chat, message boards and other features Aggie fans have come to expect from their web forum sites. Additionally, by clicking on the popup ads, advertising revenue was generated that Jared graciously donated to the Big Blue Club. I beleive he told us he donated over $1000 in revenue to the BBC one year.

With the original TrueAggies.com, Aggie fans on the internet were truly in heaven.  And a wide variety of posters made an appearance on this site, many of whom continue to post on contemporary boards today.  Blue Star/Fighting Farmer, Troutputz, The Toad, Fishhack, Blue Genes, West Jordan Ag, Mateo/ProvoAg, Cornjob, OkAggie and many others, made TrueAggies seem like meeting at a sports bar, all from the convenience of your office or computer room.  Another peculiar poster on this site was a fellow who went by the moniker of WYOAG.  A former Aggie football player, he was colorful and opinionated and, if memory serves me correctly, became the first Aggie fan banished from a USU forum for bad internet behavior.

TrueAggies was a dream to negotiate, and was part of the larger national organization of collegiate websites across the country, put up under the Rivals.com banner.  This network was all-inclusive and made it very easy to visit opposing team sites and run some smack.  Playing Nebraska this week?  No problem.  Just type in "rivals.cornhuskers.com" and, BOOM, there you were at the home of Big Red.  When Dave Arslanian was fired, all Aggies immediately when to the Grizzily's Den, site of the University of Montana, and we had instant information (and confirmation) regarding  Mick Dennehy's hiring. This process was repeated for any university you wanted to visit.  In many ways, it has never been so good.

In the end, though, that was the achilles heel of Rivals.com.  With so much invested in such a large system, Rivals needed advertising dollars and capital to stay alive, capital they couldn't raise in the end. One morning, Aggies logged on to find that they couldn't get in to TrueAggies.  Rivals had pulled the plug the previous night and that site was dead.

Fortunately, Jared had retained the architecture of the old SitePowerUp TrueAggies, so it reemerged as TrueAggies II ("http://members4.boardhost.com/TrueAggies/"), and for a time, Aggie fans met there until a new site was developed. TrueAggies II gave us a place to leave basic messages, but didnt have any of the features Aggie fans had come to enjoy.  They all wanted what TrueAggies had offered them.  It wasn't too long before it happened.

Matt Evans undertook the development of today's UStateAgs.com ("http://pub208.ezboard.com/futahstatefrm3").  Now affiliated with the more stable "Insiders.com" organization, we have now enjoyed several years of a site almost identical to TrueAggies, with perhaps a few new twists thrown in. Matt, along with Tyler Riggs and others, have worked hard to provide a site that gives Aggie fans the information they want, and a variety of ways to discuss what is going on in Aggieland.  To them my hat is off, and I wish them continued success in their efforts.

Also arriving on the scene in the last year was the new True Aggies.com ("http://pub118.ezboard.com/btrueaggies"), started up by True Aggie Pete, a USU faculty member, assisted by Jared Eborn. True Aggies.com has tried to provide a place for more "reasonable" discussion of Aggie sports, without all the smack, complaining and accusations that sometime prevail in internet forums.  The site is pretty carefully moderated by Pete, and it's a calm place to go during the occasional firestorms that hit UStateAgs.com.

Both sites do one thing-- provide Aggie fans with a place to roost and discuss their teams.  Whether right or wrong, heated or reasoned, discussions of all kind occur, and that has to be good for promoting fan interest.  While there is still some dismay that internet forums like this are treated like the bubonic plague in official circles, hope springs eternal that the day will arrive when athletic department officials and board operators can sit down and agree on ways to promote the use of these sites as informational tools for USU athletics. 

For those of us who enjoy this medium, those days can arrive none too soon.

TrueAggie

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