Flashback: Most Wins in School History

The Brigham Young Cougars hold the NCAA record for most wins in a single season with 14. That was done 15 years ago. BYU also set or tied the school record for most wins in a season 35 and 45 years ago in 1976 and 1966, respectively. While BYU football teams raised the record for most wins in a season three other times between 1976 and 1996, from now until the 2011 season starts, Blue Cougar Football is limiting its flashbacks to memorable moments from past years that are the anniversaries we typically give extra special attention (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 …). Hear is how each of these record setting teams compare to each other.

Overall record: 8-2
The Victims: San Diego State, Colorado State, Utah State, New Mexico, Arizona, UTEP, Utah, Pacific
Longest Win Streak: 4 games
Average Winning Margin: 17.75
Largest winning margin: 38 (Pacific, 38-0)
Most points in one game: 53 (UTEP)
Coach: Tommy Hudspeth
Leading Passer: Virgil Carter, 2,182 yards
Leading Rusher: John Ogden, 906 yards
Leading Receiver: Phil Odle, 920 yards
• Only the second time that BYU beat both Utah and Utah State in same season (1958 was first).
• Virgil Carter was named WAC Offensive Player of the Year
• 6 players were 1st team All-WAC, 3 were 2nd team All-WAC
• Carter was the first BYU QB to pass for 2,000 yards

Overall Record: 9-3
The Victims: Colorado State, Arizona, San Diego State, Southern Mississippi, Utah State, Arizona State, UTEP, New Mexico, Utah
Longest Win Streak: 6 games
Average Winning Margin: 20.4
Largest Winning Margin: 44 (Southern Mississippi, 63-19)
Most Points in One Game: 63 (Southern Mississippi)
Coach: LaVell Edwards
Leading Passer: Gifford Nielsen, 3192 yards
Leading Rusher: Jeff Blanc, 594 yards
Leading Receiver: Mike Chronister, 706 yards
• Only the third time BYU beat both Arizona and Arizona State in same season (1965 and 1974 were the other times).
• Gifford Nielsen was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year
• 9 players were 1st team All-WAC
• Nielsen was the first BYU QB to pass for 3,000 yards

Overall Record: 14-1
The Victims: Texas A&M, Arkansas State, New Mexico, SMU, Utah State, UNLV, Tulsa, TCU, UTEP, Rice, Hawaii, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas State
Longest Win Streak: 12 games
Average Winning Margin: 21.2
Largest Winning Margin: 49 points (Arkansas State, 58-9; Rice 49-0)
Most Points in One Game: 63 (UNLV)
Coach: LaVell Edwards
Leading Passer: Steve Sarkisian, 4027 yards
Leading Rusher: Brian McKenzie, 950 yards
Leading Receiver: K.O. Kealaluhi, 901 yards
• Played in first January bowl game in school history
• Played in second Pigskin Classic in school history (1991 was first)
• Played in the inaugural WAC Championship Game
• Played 7 home games
• Steve Sarkisian won the Sammy Baugh trophy
• Steve Sarkisian was WAC Mountain Division Offensive Player of the Year
• Shay Muirbrook was WAC Mountain Division Offensive Player of the Year
• Ronney Jenkins was WAC Mountain Division Freshman of the Year
• LaVell Edwards was WAC Mountain Division Coach of the year
• 9 players were 1st team All-WAC, 4 players were 2nd team All-WAC

Each team had one shutout (1966-Pacific, 38-0; 1976-San Diego State, 8-0; 1996-Rice, 49-0)
Each team beat Utah by 20 points or more (1966: 35-13, 1976: 34-12, 1996: 37-17)

With this pattern of most wins on these anniversary years, maybe BYU should use the flexibility it has and schedule a 13th game for 2011, which would make tying the school record of 14 wins possible with a perfect season, including a bowl win. Not a bad idea, except, the last time BYU had a 14 game season was another anniversary year—2001. That year, the Cougars were poised to tie the school and NCAA record for most wins in a season, until Luke Staley's season ended early in the final minutes of game 12 caused an otherwise outstanding season to be marred by a two game skid.

On second thought, let’s just stick with the 12 games, plus the possibility for a bowl, and wait for 2012 to match the 14 win record.

More flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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  1. Washington, who ended the season 9-3 and ranked #16. Not a bad game to lose, if you are going to lose one.


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