BYU to put football series with Utah State on hold

It looks like the Wagon Wheel won’t be rocking for much longer.

BYU has cancelled its upcoming football series with rival Utah State for the 2023-26 seasons, the athletic directors from both schools announced Thursday.

“As we prepare to enter Big 12 membership, we’ve had to make many adjustments to nonconference games on our future schedules,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “We are grateful to Utah State for being a willing partner in scheduling games throughout the years, especially the last decade as we’ve navigated independence.”

While the schools were originally scheduled to play each season between 2023-26, contractual language voided the agreement due to BYU’s admission to the Big 12. The Aggies are set to visit Provo on Sept. 29 for the 91st installment of the Wagon Wheel series, which will be the final rivalry showdown until 2027 at the earliest.

The announcement — which comes a few months after Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey indicated that his school’s yearly series with BYU would end after 2022 — suggests that the new Big 12 will operate with nine conference games each football season, leaving just three openings for non-conference competition. As of now, BYU’s three remaining non-conference matchups in 2023 are against Arkansas, Tennessee and Southern Utah.

BYU leads the all-time series against Utah State 50-37-3, having won 33 of the past 40 contests and seven of the past 10. The Cougars won the most recent matchup 34-20 in Logan this past September behind 218 rushing yards from Tyler Allgeier.

The longtime rivalry has increased in intensity over the past decade, with six serious injuries for BYU’s starting quarterback in the past decade of games against Utah State, a pre-game scuffle between the two teams in 2017 and Aggie fans throwing garbage at BYU players last September.

Despite the series being sidelined for the foreseeable future, both schools are open to working out an agreement to play again down the road once scheduling becomes more flexible.

“While we don’t have the Aggies scheduled beyond 2022 at this point, we will continue to work together to play this in-state game again in the future,” Holmoe said.

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