Top 10 local sports stories of 2011

Published: Saturday, Dec. 31 2011 8:13 p.m. MST

#10 - Rise of the Aggies Next » 1 of 10 « Prev
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah State football enjoyed its best season in more than 20 years. The Aggies advanced to a bowl game for the first time since 1997, and the season could have been even better — 10 of the team's 13 games were decided by a touchdown or less.

"What Gary (Andersen, head coach) did, for the first time, I can remember in years and years, they truly expected to win games," said Deseret News columnist Brad Rock. "When they lost in the (Famous) Idaho Potato Bowl, it was genuine surprise and disappointment. The optimism is the most it's been in decades up there."

Raising expectations also means more opportunity to disappoint.

"I thought they'd do better," said Hans Olsen, former BYU and NFL player and co-host of the "Hans and OC Show" on 97.5 FM. "I thought they'd win the WAC, and to watch Louisiana Tech win the WAC and watch USU flounder and lose ground, lose close games, it was a letdown for me. Watching what they did to BYU, it escalated my expectations."

The future does look promising for the Aggies, and just what that means for the landscape of football in Utah is unknown.

"They've always been everybody's second-favorite team," said Rock. "People usually like the Utes or the Cougars and then everybody is kind of pulling for the Aggies. What I want to know is how popular they'll be if they start beating Utah and BYU?"
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Orem, Utah

Nicely done, Amy. Couldn't agree more with your choices...especially Jimmermania as #1. Even my wife who generally dislikes sports attended three BYU basketball games last winter and is now following the Sacramento Kings!

Bountiful, UT

I don't know about the team not quitting on Jake, the defense certainly did in the 3rd quarter of the Utah game. Consequently, Utah took a close game and turned it into a route.

Las Vegas, NV

The fans apparently do not realize that any "official practice" would be considered an NCAA Violation and subject a school to probation? I suspect all the fawning over purportedly missed practices will disappear when one realizes that there are no such thing as off-season practices (missed or otherwise). Any off-season workouts are only called by the players themselves; cannot be called, mandated or otherwise attended by coaches and are therefore, not formal or organized. But I am sure all the intellectual geniuses (fans) out their know this right?

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