Cougs, Utes, Aggies All Hope To Sweep Bowl Games For First Time Ever
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The state of Utah has had college football since 1892 with Utah, BYU and Utah State. In that time frame, all three schools have been bowl eligible during the same season just five times including this season.
In those previous four years, Utah’s three FBS football teams have never all lost their bowl games in the same year. However, they’ve never all won during the same year, either.
That could change in 2018, although only the Cougars are favored in the Idaho Famous Potato Bowl to beat Western Michigan. Both Utah and Utah State go into their respective bowl games as underdogs.
All three teams have something to play for, and histories of getting beat when they should have won, and winning against the odds.
The Utes appeared in their first ever bowl game in 1939 when they beat New Mexico 26-0 in the Sun Bowl. Utah will play in their 23rd bowl game on December 31.
BYU didn’t play in their first bowl game until 1974 when they lost to Oklahoma State 16-6 in the Fiesta Bowl. Despite waiting 82 years for their first bowl game, the Cougars have played in 36 bowl games, which is more appearances than Utah and Utah State.
The Cougars will play their 36th bowl game on December 21 and have a 14-20-1 bowl record.
Utah State appeared in their first bowl game in 1947 when they lost to San Jose State 20-0 in the Raisin Bowl. This season will be the Aggies 13th bowl game and have a 4-8 record.
Here are the four other seasons that all three schools have participated in a bowl game in the same season before 2018.
1993: Local Teams 1-2
Holiday Bowl: BYU 21, Ohio State 28
Freedom Bowl: Utah 21, USC 28
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah State 42, Ball State 33
It wasn’t a great start to the season for Utah as they lost their season opener to Arizona State 38-0. After back-to-back wins over Utah State and Kansas, the Utes lost three straight to Wyoming, Idaho and New Mexico.
They responded with three straight victories over UTEP, Colorado State and San Diego State to put their record at 5-4. Utah lost to Hawaii the following week to drop their record to 5-5.
The Utes had to win one of their last two games to get to a bowl game and they won both contests against Air Force and BYU. Utah finished with a 7-5 overall record and 5-3 in WAC play.
Utah reached just their second bowl game since 1964. They played USC in the Freedom Bowl. The Trojans jumped on the Utes early with a 28-0 halftime lead but Utah held them scoreless in the second half while scoring 21 points but they fell short as USC won 28-21.
BYU won their first four games over New Mexico, Hawaii, Colorado State and Air Force before they went into a slump, losing their next four games to UCLA, Notre Dame, Fresno State and Utah State.
BYU’s record was 4-4, needing two wins in their last three games. They beat San Diego State but lost to Utah. The Cougars beat UTEP in their regular season finale to get bowl eligible and they had to face No. 11 Ohio State in the Holiday Bowl.
The game was tied at 21 at halftime but the Buckeyes scored one touchdown in the third quarter to win 28-21.
BYU quarterback John Walsh was named offensive MVP despite the loss with three touchdown passes.
It was an up-and-down year for the Aggies to say the least as they won their season opener against Louisana-Lafayette but lost their next five games to Utah, Baylor, Fresno State, LSU and Nevada.
When it was looking like a disappointing season for Utah State with a 1-5 record, they won their last five games of the regular season against UNLV, BYU, Pacific, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State to put their record at 6-5.
They faced Ball State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah State jumped out to a 21-0 lead before the Cardinals tried to make it a ball game when they scored 33 points in the second half but the Aggies were too much with 21 second half points. Utah State won their first bowl game in school history with a 42-33 win.
2011: Local Teams 2-1
Armed Forces Bowl: BYU 24, Tulsa 21
Sun Bowl: Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27
Famous Potato Bowl: Utah State 23, Ohio 24
It was Utah’s first season in the Pac-12 conference and it showed in the standings. Utah won their season opener against Montana State but lost to USC before beating BYU. The Utes were 2-1 on the season.
They lost two straight to Washington and Arizona State before they knocked off Pittsburgh. California beat the Utes the following week but that started the run for Utah when they were 3-4.
After that loss, they won four straight against Oregon State, Arizona, UCLA and Washington State. The Utes lost to Colorado in their regular season finale to finish with a 7-5 record and 4-5 in Pac-12 play.
Utah faced Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. The Yellow Jackets had a star wide receiver on their team that had a great NFL career in Calvin Johnson. But the Utes prevailed in overtime with a 30-27 win. Utah had to overcome a 24-10 deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Running back John White IV was named offensive MVP with 115 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries.
BYU was in their first season as an independent and faced a tough schedule. They started the season with a road win over Ole Miss but they lost to Texas and Utah to put their record at 1-2.
Bronco Mendenhall’s team won five straight over UCF, Utah State, San Jose State, Oregon State and Idaho State to bump their record to 6-2 and was bowl eligible in October. After their loss to TCU, BYU won their last three regular season games to finish with a 9-3 record.
The Cougars played Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl and was able to sneak out with a 24-21 win. Wide receiver Cody Hoffman was named offensive MVP with 8 catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
In Gary Andersen’s third season as head coach, the Aggies were searching for their first bowl appearance since 1997. Utah State lost to Auburn before beating Weber State but lost to Colorado State and BYU to put their record at 1-3 early in the season.
After a dominating win over Wyoming, they lost to Fresno State and Louisiana Tech and it was looking like another season without a bowl game for the team in Logan as they were 2-5.
Utah State lost their starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton to a season ending injury in their win over Hawaii but the Aggies managed to win their next five games over Hawaii, San Jose State, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico State to end their 14-year drought of playing in a bowl game with a 7-5 record.
The Aggies played Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Utah State was up 23-17 late in the game when the Bobcats had the ball back on their last possession, they drove down the field and scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left and made the extra point to win 24-23.
2014: Local Teams 2-1
Miami Beach Bowl: BYU 48, Memphis 55
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah 45, Colorado State 10
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State 21, UTEP 6
Utah had a strong start to the season with wins over Idaho State, Fresno State and Michigan. They lost their Pac-12 opener to Washington State before winning their next three games over No. 8 UCLA, Oregon State and No. 20 USC.
With a 6-1 record, Utah was already bowl eligible but were chasing a division title in the Pac-12. They lost to Arizona State and Oregon but knocked off Stanford. They ended the season with a loss to Arizona and a win over Colorado.
They ended the regular season with an 8-4 overall record and 5-4 mark in conference play. Utah played Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl and allowed the Rams just 10 points in the first quarter and scoreless the next three quarters to win 45-10.
Utes quarterback Travis Wilson was named MVP with a 158 passing yards and one touchdown while running the ball 11 times for 91 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
BYU’s 2014 season came in groups of four, starting with four straight wins over Connecticut, No. 25 Texas in Austin, Houston and Virginia.
They would lose their next four games against Utah State, UCF, Nevada and Boise State. BYU won their last four contests over Middle Tennessee State, UNLV, Savannah State and California.
With the 8-4 record, the Cougars faced Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl that would later turn into the Miami Beach “Brawl,” when BYU lost to the Tigers in double overtime 55-28.
There was a big fight that broke out after the game between the two teams.
Utah State lost their first game of the season in Knoxville against Tennessee but bounced back with wins over Idaho State and Wake Forest. After a disappointing loss to Arkansas State, they knocked off No. 18 BYU in Provo and beat Air Force to put their record at 4-2.
Colorado State beat the Aggies just before Utah State won their next five games against UNLV, Hawaii, Wyoming, New Mexico and San Jose State. They lost to Boise State in the regular season finale to end with a 9-4 record.
They faced UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl and it wasn’t close. The Aggies held the Miners to two field goals, one in the first and one in the four quarter while winning 21-6.
Aggies quarterback Kent Meyers was named offensive MVP with 70 rushing yards and one touchdown.
2015: Local Teams 1-2
Las Vegas Bowl: BYU 28, Utah 35
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah 35, BYU 28
Famous Potato Bowl: Utah State 21, Akron 23
Utah had the looks of a historic season when they won their first six games against Michigan, Utah State, Fresno State, No. 13 Oregon, No. 23 California and Arizona State. They were ranked No. 4 in the country.
The Utes lost to USC and then beat Oregon State and Washington State. With an 8-1 record, Utah lost their next two against Arizona and UCLA but finished the regular season with a win over Colorado to put their record to 9-3 overall and 6-3 in conference play.
They played BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl in a game that was wild. Utah was up 35-0 in the first quarter but didn’t score again.
BYU crawled back by scoring one touchdown in the second and third quarters and two scores in the fourth to fall short of the comeback win as Utah prevailed with a 35-28 victory.
During their season opener, BYU lost star quarterback Taysom Hill for the season and had to rely on freshman Tanner Mangum. He threw the game winning touchdown on a hail mary to beat Nebraska.
BYU won their next game against No. 20 Boise State before they lost to No. 10 UCLA and Michigan. With a 2-2 record, the Cougars won their next five games against UConn, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Wagner and San Jose State.
They lost to Missouri and followed that by beating Fresno State and Utah State to finish with a 9-3 record. They faced Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl in the final game of the Bronco Mendenhall era.
The Cougars fell short of a massive comeback as they lost to Utah 35-28.
It was an up-and-down season for Utah State in 2015, they started with a close three-point win over Southern Utah. They lost the next two games to Utah and Washington before winning the next three over Colorado State, Fresno State and No. 21 Boise State.
With their record at 4-2, Utah State needed just two wins in their next six games to become bowl eligible. They lost their next contest against San Diego State but beat Wyoming to get within one win.
They lost their next two to New Mexico and Air Force. The second to last week of the regular season the Aggies finally clinched a bowl game with a four point win over Nevada. They finished the regular season with a 6-6 record after losing to BYU.
The Aggies faced Akron in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Utah State was down 20-14 in the fourth quarter but a Zips field goal put them in a tough spot. They scored a touchdown with 1:12 left but couldn’t get another score and lost the game 23-21.
Utah will face Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl on Monday, December 31 at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
BYU will take on Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday, December 21 at 2 p.m. on ESPN.
Utah State will face North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday at 12 p.m. on ESPN.