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Know your enemy: Utah State edition

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USU band

It’s payback time for the Broncos on The Blue tonight and let's hope the Broncos take this one as seriously as the Aggies took this game last season. The Broncos are off to their first 3-0 start since 2011 and USU is coming off a tough conference loss to Air Force. It has all the makings of a trap game, except the Broncos have had this one circled for a year. The enemy deserves no mercy.

Ten things you might not have known about Utah State or their Logan locale

10) Logan, Utah was founded by Mormon settlers in 1859. Brigham Young, famous for being Steve Young's great-great-great grandfather, sent a group of men to survey a fort site in the Cache Valley. The surveyors soon began to divvy up the parcels of land and plant wheat that would later be creamed. The berg was given the name "Logan" after Ephraim Logan, an area trapper of furs (some that were even still attached to animals). Fur trappers in the 1800s were like the pop stars of today, you see. In 150 years, historians will marvel at the humble beginnings of Lady Gaga, Nebraska.

9) Utah State competed in their first collegiate football game in 1892. The coachless team defeated the visiting Utes 12-0 and apparently were so impressed by the display that they failed to play another game for the rest of the year and then it slipped their mind to play any further games until 1896, when Brigham Young Academy travelled to Logan to hand them a 6-0 defeat...again, their only game of the "season". The squad didn't play more than one game a year until 1901, when they finally got themselves a coach—the redundantly named Dick Richards, and a six-game schedule that pitted them against the likes of the "Ogden Mutes", the National Guard, and a local high school. They went 3-2-1 and yes, they beat the Mutes, whose play calls were surprisingly easy to steal.

8) Why is the New Mexico State Aggie a cowboy and the Utah State Aggie a...(spitballing here) a centaur? Well, an Aggie mascot generally denotes that the school is an agricultural institution, and Utah State was founded as the Agricultural College of Utah and didn't become Utah State University until 1957. The first athletics teams actually were known as "the Farmers". Here's what their fight song sounded like back then.

7) The Be-No Club erected the block "A" on campus. The four-sided letter "A" has a platform on top and USU tradition states that in order to become a "True Aggie" one must receive a kiss atop the "A" at midnight on Homecoming or "A-Day" or by kissing a "True Aggie" at midnight under a full moon. So one...the fire inspector cannot allow that many people atop that thing at the same time and two, c'mon...this is a scam to get someone to kiss you. The best kind of scam, mind you...but a scam nonetheless. Oh, and three...a full moon? We're going for non-official titles here, not lycanthropy.

Block A

Kissin’ post/death trap

6) Utah State's campus is split down the middle by the Logan City Cemetery, where over 17,000 of the dearly departed (and growing!) are interred. By my count, that's one grave for each turnover committed by Boise State in Logan last season.

Logan cemetery

Logan City Cemetery: People are dying to get in®

5) Utah State actually has an alum named Archimedes Plutonium. Ludwig Poehlmann graduated from Utah State in 1979 with a Masters in Education. He later went bat-BW insane, legally changed his named to Archimedes Plutonium and gained "internet notoriety" (like regular notoriety, but sadder) by positing hundreds of scientific theories on Usenet. Among some of his more "interesting" findings: that the universe is a giant plutonium atom, and that he had invented a new decimal number notation that leads to proofs/disproofs of the prime number theorem. Pfft, that's preposterous! What's a decimal?

4) Speaking of science, Utah State has long-standing ties with NASA and conducts extensive aerospace research. Utah State is one of only six universities to participate in NASA's New Millenium program, and as such, conduct research on the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS). Using the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer, intrepid researchers discovered Archimedes Plutonium in 2005. Good work, everyone!

3) Though he's understandably claimed by 3 different universities, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell did attend Utah State for a time. Bushnell founded Atari Inc. in 1972 with colleague Ted Dabny and revolutionized the consumer electronics industry, then as if that wasn't "cool enough" ended up founding Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theatre five years later. We owe this man so much...but did you know he owes ME two quarters that I lost on Skee-ball at Chuck E. Cheese's in 1986. Chuck E. was extremely unhelpful.

Chuck E

An unreasonable mouse.

2) In 1989, for a tax write-off on the unsold inventory, Apple Computer Inc. buried about 2,700 unsold Apple Lisas in a guarded landfill in Logan. I think it's pretty clear what is going to be done with all those "Chuckie Keeton for Heisman" posters now.


1) It took the help of Utah State researchers for the University of Idaho to clone the first mule Idaho Gem in 2003. The work was divided right down the middle, so two guesses which end of the mule the Vandals cloned.