The BYU-Utah State game is just around the corner, and the fans are excited to watch Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies face off against Kyle Van Noy and the Cougars. This rivalry may not get the attention or glamor that the BYU vs. Utah rivalry has, but there's plenty of interesting material over its long history.
After all, the Aggies and Cougars have been playing since 1922. That's plenty of time for all sorts of interesting things to happen.
Here's 10 things you didn't know about the BYU vs. Utah State rivalry.
Lafe Peavler is a sports writer intern at the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @MasterPeavler
While Brigham Young Academy played a few games between 1896 and 1900, BYU considers the 1922 season as the official beginning of its football program. On Oct. 7, 1922, Utah State traveled to Provo and BYU played its first game.
The Aggies pounded the fledgling Cougars 42-3.
BYU's second game was against arch-rival Utah, but Utah State can be proud of the fact that it was the first team to defeat the Cougars.
Some fans have referred to Utah State as BYU's "little brother," but they don't know their history.
The Utah State "Farmers" played the University of Utah in 1892. That's four years before BYA played its first game in 1896 and 30 years before BYU's first official game. So whatever names Cougar fans throw at the Aggies, Utah State owns the older football team.
BYU and Utah State decided to make their rivalry more interesting by offering a trophy to the winner. In classic college football tradition that includes the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana-Purdue), Paul Bunyan's Axe (Wisconsin vs. Minnesota) and the Little Brown Jug (Michigan-Minnesota), the Aggies and Cougars chose to fight over the Old Wagon Wheel.
The Old Wagon Wheel references Utah's pioneer heritage, making it an important reminder of the state's past. The first battle for the Old Wagon Wheel took place on Oct. 23, 1948, and the Aggies took it home after a 20-7 victory.
However, fans of the losing team in this rivalry have been known to steal and hide the Old Wagon Wheel from the winner, according to BYUCougars.com. The teams guard this historic trophy too closely these days for that to happen now.
There's no bigger name in BYU history than LaVell Edwards. After all, Edwards was the one who put the Cougars on the map and won their only national championship. It's hard to imagine what BYU would be without his key contributions. You might think that Edwards was always associated with BYU.
And you'd be wrong.
In fact, Edwards was an All-Skyline Conference center for the Aggies. So, why did Edwards pick USU over BYU?
“If I’d gone to the Y., I would have had to live at home, and my job would have been milking the cows," Edwards told BYUCougars.com. "I was sick of milking those two darned cows. I’d have gone to Utah to get away from ‘em. Well maybe not Utah, but I wanted to get away.”
Some people, including SDSU head coach Rocky Long, complain about how BYU players are older and more mature thanks to their two-year LDS missions. However, Utah State isn't among those who criticize BYU for that reason as the Aggies use plenty of returned missionaries themselves.
The Aggies have 24 players who have served missions, which is third in the nation behind Utah (25) and BYU (47), according to the Deseret News. Utah State players have served in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Jarom Baldomero), Santiago, Chile (Jordan Brown), Halifax, Canada (Clayton Christensen) and Veracruz, Mexico (Jarom Ioane).
Before LaVell Edwards took the head coaching job at BYU, the Aggies had a commanding 27-17-3 record vs. the Cougars. While Edwards lost his first three games against Utah State, he would only lose three more games to the Aggies during his 29 seasons in Provo.
By the time Edwards retired, BYU had taken a 38-33-3 lead in the series. Currently, the Cougars hold a 45-34-3 advantage over Utah State.
There's more that connects the Cougars than just the same state. Some USU coaches, including assistant head coach/offensive line coach Mark Weber and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven, used to work for the BYU coaching staff.
On the other side, BYU's inside linebacker coach Paul Tidwell and special teams coordinator/outside linebacker coach Kelly Poppinga played football at one time for Utah State. Poppinga later transferred to BYU.
That's what happens when you have such closely related programs.
This rivalry has produced some high-scoring games, such as USU's 58-56 win over the Cougars in 1993. The highest combined-scoring game is BYU's 70-46 win over the Aggies in 1980.
Looks like both teams left their defenses on the bus those days.
However, these games haven't always been so high-octane. Last year's 6-3 win for BYU was the lowest-scoring rivalry game since LaVell Edwards came to Provo. But the lowest scoring games in BYU-Utah history came in 1926, 1939 and 1946 as each of those games ended in a 0-0 tie.
Fans must be glad we don't have those kind of games anymore.
While Utah State has fallen behind in the overall record vs. the Cougars, the Aggies still hold the advantage at home. Utah State leads 18-15-2 when BYU travels to Logan.
It's not a coincidence that USU's most recent win over BYU in 2010 took place at Romney Stadium. In fact, all three of Utah State's wins since 1978 in this rivalry happened in Logan.
Just as LaVell Edwards tipped the scale toward BYU, Gary Andersen has tightened the rivalry considerably. While Andersen went 1-3 against the Cougars, the average score of those games was BYU 21 Utah State 20.
Andersen didn't stick around nearly as long as Edwards did, but there's definitely a new atmosphere in this rivalry. We'll just have to see if Matt Wells can keep Utah State up.