Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Rivalry results — BYU tops Utah, Utah State and Boise State in Fall semester sports

A loss to Utah in football and basketball didn’t stop BYU from dominating in athletics between the University of Utah, Utah State University and Boise State University. With a national championship in track, a ranked season in soccer and volleyball and the highest ranking in basketball, BYU athletics leads the way for sports among the four rivals.

Because of a national title in men’s cross country, a second-place finish in women’s cross country and a fifth-place finish in soccer, the Division I Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup has BYU athletics ranked fourth in the country behind Virginia, Michigan and Stanford. Boise State comes in at No. 23 in IMG Director’s Cup results and ranks second among the four rivals, while Utah sits at No. 43 and Utah State ranks No. 66.

Men’s sports

The BYU men’s basketball bench celebrates after TJ Haws dunked the ball over a Weber State defender on Dec. 22, 2019. (Hannah Miner)

BYU football succumbed to Utah 30-12 in the season opener while beating Utah State 42-14 and Boise State 28-25, while the Broncos also laid down a beating on the Aggies in the form of a 51-26 win. BYU’s win over Boise State would mark the only loss of the regular season for the Broncos, dropping them to No. 19 overall.

Ranking the football teams, Utah finished ranked No. 11 overall with an 11-2 regular-season record, while No. 19 Boise State finished the regular season schedule at 12-1 but saw itself on the receiving end of a 38-7 Washington beatdown, dropping its record to 12-2.

BYU posted a 7-6 record with wins over both Boise State and Utah State, but it can be assumed that Boise State is likely better than BYU, especially given its ranking. Utah State also finished with a 7-6 record after losing its bowl game 51-41 to a relatively underwhelming Kent State University team that ranked No. 63 among scoring offenses and No. 121 among defensive yards allowed. This game marked the seventh time that the Aggies allowed more than 30 points in a game this season, largely thanks to quarterback Jordan Love, who threw 17 interceptions on the season.

BYU basketball dropped a pair of overtime games to both Boise State and Utah State, but anyone that watched the games would know that the lack of Yoeli Childs’ presence had drastic effects on the game. Childs left the game against Utah with 15 minutes remaining after experiencing cramping in both legs, and Utah was able to storm back from a 16-point deficit without Childs in the game. The game would have had a drastically different outcome had Childs been able to play the whole game, much like the overtime loss to Boise State where Childs was still serving his nine-game suspension.

BYU basketball is currently the highest-ranked team in the state of Utah at No. 31, while also the highest-ranked among the four rivals. The once-celebratory Aggies ranked No. 17 in the country to start the season, but that ranking disappeared into the abyss with losses to Saint Mary’s University and BYU, dropping the school to No. 49. Utah currently sits at No. 64 in the rankings, while Boise State lags behind at No. 112.

The BYU men’s cross country team took home the national title in November, making BYU the clear favorite among the four rivalry schools. The Runnin’ Utes ironically don’t have a men’s cross country team, so they’ll be left out of this conversation, but the Utah State men’s cross country team finished 16th at nationals while Boise State placed 21st.

Rounding out the last men’s sport that has overlap between these four rivalry schools is golf. BYU, again, is the clear victor in this category as the Cougars have the No. 1 golfer in the country in the form of Peter Kuest and own the No. 4 spot among golf teams in the nation. Looking way down the list, Utah ranks No. 57, with Mitchell Schow, ranked No. 166, owning the title of top golfer at the University of Utah. Boise State follows with a No. 79 ranking and its top golfer, Skyler Eubank, being ranked No. 177. Even further down the list are the Aggies at No. 155, but you would have to look even deeper to find its top golfer as golfstat.com doesn’t list any Utah State golfers in the top 250.

Women’s sports

The BYU women’s soccer team ranked highest among the four rivals, finishing the season with a No. 5 ranking. (Addie Blacker)

BYU women’s soccer ran the table among the four rivals and most of the NCAA for much of the soccer season, making it to the NCAA round of eight before losing its first game of the season. BYU played Utah during the regular season and came away with a 2-0 win, and a win over Boise State would come in the first round of the NCAA tournament as the Cougars ended the Broncos’ season.

Utah State women’s soccer was able to grind out a win against Boise State despite being outshot 19-5, but Utah proved to be too much for USU as they walked away with a 3-0 win. Despite beating Boise State, the 8-10-1 Aggies were the only of the four rival teams to miss the NCAA tournament, while Boise State and Utah were both on the receiving end of lopsided losses to Duke and BYU, respectively, in the first round of the tournament.

Utah volleyball made it farther than BYU, Boise State and Utah State, losing to Stanford in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Utah knocked BYU out of the tournament in the Smith Fieldhouse to end BYU’s season, while Boise State and Utah State both failed to make it past the regular season.

Utah State had, statistically, one of the most dismal volleyball seasons that a team could have, starting the season 0-14, including posting an 0-4 record in a tournament it hosted in Logan, before finishing with a 2-28 record. Though Boise State didn’t make the NCAA tournament, it still turned in a respectable 18-12 record, which was good enough for a berth in the NIT tournament.

The BYU women’s cross country team was bested only by Arkansas as they captured the national runner-up title at the NCAA championships. Utah and Boise State finished No. 16 and No. 17, respectively, while Utah State lagged way behind without even qualifying for the national championships.

BYU women’s basketball has gone 1-2 against its three rivals, but a win over Utah State helped drop the Aggies record well-below .500 at 5-8, while the Cougars lost to both Utah and Boise State. Boise State and Utah don’t play one another this season while the Broncos and Aggies won’t face each other until conference play begins.

All-in-all, BYU athletics proved supreme over its rivalry foes during the 2019 Fall semester. With a national first and second-place finish in cross country, the No. 1 golfer in the country and a top-5 golf team, a top-5 team in soccer, the highest-ranked basketball team and no teams that are the weakest of the four rivals, BYU men’s and women’s sports teams have earned their Division I Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup ranking.

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