With the season now underway and the Aggies coming off a historic season, I thought I’d take a look back through the record books and compile a ranking of the greatest football seasons in Utah State history.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 seasons in the history of Utah State Aggies football.
No. 10 – 1921
The 1921 Aggies recorded a 7-1 record, including a perfect 4-0 RMAC record to win the first conference championship in program history.
Led by legendary coach Dick Romney, the season was highlighted by a pair of 14-3 victories over rivals Wyoming and Utah.
No. 9 – 1972
The Utah State team of 1972 compiled an 8-3 record as an independent, finishing as the 19th ranked team in the final UPI Coaches Poll.
Led by future NFL quarterback Tony Adams, the Aggies defeated rivals BYU and Utah – both teams had winning records – along with rival Wyoming and in-state foe Weber State to highlight the campaign.
No. 8 – 1946
The Aggies of 1946 were champions of the Mountain States Conference, making an appearance in the Raisin Bowl, the first bowl game in program history.
Compiling a 7-2-1 record (4-1-1 MSC), Utah State defeated or tied five teams with a .500 record or better, including RMAC champion Montana State. The Aggies also tied with BYU, while beating an 8-3 Utah team, 22 to 14.
No. 7 – 1967
One of the many strong Utah State teams during a 16-year stint as an independent, the 1967 team compiled a 7-2-1 record.
The Aggies defeated five teams with a winning record – along with rival Utah – during the season, including BYU and Small College (now D-II) national champion San Diego State.
No. 6 – 2018
Winning a school-record 11 games, the 2018 Aggies finished the season ranked in the Top 25 of both the AP (22nd) and Coaches (21st) polls.
Utah State also went 7-1 in Mountain West play and added wins at rival BYU and in the New Mexico Bowl against North Texas.
No. 5 – 2014
Compiling a 10-4 record (6-2 Mountain West), the 2014 Aggies capped the season with a blowout win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.
The campaign was highlighted by wins over ACC program Wake Forest, as well as at No. 18 BYU and a 10-win Air Force team.
No. 4 – 1936
Finishing the season with an unbeaten 7-0-1 record, Utah State took home the 1936 RMAC championship with a 6-0-1 conference record.
The Aggies beat three teams with a .500 record or better – including Utah 12-0 – and also defeated rivals Wyoming (25-0) and BYU (13-0).
No. 3 – 1961
Led by First Team All-American, Outland Trophy winner, and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, the Aggies recorded a 9-1-1 (5-0-1 Skyline) record in 1961.
The team won the Skyline Conference title, also appearing in the Gotham Bowl while receiving a No. 10 ranking in both final national polls (AP & Coaches), the highest finish in school history.
The Aggies also beat a pair of bowl teams during the season, as well as rival 6-4 Utah and BYU.
No. 2 – 2021
Under a first-year head coach and with a slew of new players, the 2021 team equaled a school record with 11 wins, 10 more than the season prior.
The season began with a road win against Pac-12 member Washington State, the Aggies’ first away win over a Power 5 conference opponent since 1971. They also defeated a 10-win Air Force and a bowl-eligible Hawaii team to win the MW Mountain Division title.
They then traveled to face the West Division champion, No. 19 San Diego State, for the Mountain West title. Utah State throttled the Aztecs on their home field, winning 46-13 to capture the first conference title since joining the Mountain West in 2013.
The Aggies capped off the season playing in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, facing Pac-12 opponent Oregon State. Utah State recorded a 24-13 win behind third-string quarterback Cooper Legas, capping the season the same way it began, with a win over a P5 opposition.
Utah State then finished as the No. 24 team in the final AP and Coaches polls, capping off the most successful turnaround in the history of the program.
No. 1 – 2012
Sitting atop the rankings, the 2012 Aggies are my clear choice for the top team in Utah State football history.
The 2012 team went 11-2 overall, setting the program single-season wins record – that has since been equaled twice – while beating opponents by an average of 23.5 points per game.
The Aggies also went a perfect 6-0 in WAC play, winning a conference title for the first time since 1997 (Big West).
After beating Southern Utah in the opener, USU took down Pac-12 and in-state rival Utah at home in overtime, the first win over the Utes in 15 years. The Aggies also tallied wins over 11-win San Jose State, 8-4 UTSA, and at No. 19 Louisiana Tech. The win over the Bulldogs was only the second win over a ranked opponent ever – No. 25 Fresno State in 1991 – and the first on the road.
The two losses on the schedule were by a combined five points, losing at No. 22 Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3).
Led by record-setting quarterback Chuckie Keeton and the WAC’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards Kerwynn Williams, the Aggies beat Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The bowl victory was just the second-ever in program history and the first since the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl against Ball State.
When the final polls were released, USU was ranked 16th in the AP rankings and 17th in the Coaches, the program’s first appearance in the final rankings since 1972.