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Which Utah school’s teams had the strongest 2021-22 year overall?

Cougars were No. 1 after fall sports results were tabulated but tumbled in the winter and spring and finished 29th

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Brigham Young Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe, wearing a mask, watches a game.

Brigham Young Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe watches the game during the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. BYU won 24-16.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

After a strong fall sports season left them ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, the BYU Cougars failed to maintain their torrid pace and finished No. 29 in the annual metric that awards points based on each institution’s placement in NCAA championships.

The final standings were released last week after the 2022 Men’s College World Series baseball championships concluded in Omaha, Nebraska.

Texas won the Cup for the second straight year on the strength of three national championships this spring and four overall titles.

Stanford was second, followed by Michigan, Ohio State and Florida.

Despite the drop-off in NCAA results as the 2021-22 school year wore on, BYU still finished higher than any other Utah institution.

BYU has never been knocked out of the Beehive State’s top spot since the award originated in 1993.

Utah had one of the best years in its athletics history and finished 44th, while Utah State was 116th, Southern Utah was 159th, Utah Valley was 248th and Weber State was 258th out of 295 schools.

The Ivy League’s Princeton was the highest non-Power Five finisher, at 18th. BYU was second in that category, after being No. 1 most years.

Spurred by runner-up finishes in women’s soccer and women’s cross-country last fall, BYU was No. 1 when the first rankings were released on Jan. 13 with 368 points.

It was in 13th place after the winter sports seasons concluded in April. 

The Cougars finished with 738.75 points, getting late points from men’s track and field (32.5), men’s golf (52.5), women’s golf (33.5) and women’s track and field (68.25) but none from men’s volleyball, a traditional national power that had a rare down year.

Baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis also failed to produce points after missing out on NCAA play.

Last year, BYU ranked No. 17 in the final standings, its highest finish since 2000-01, when it was also 17th.

The school’s highest finish ever was in 1998-99, when it finished No. 12.

The Cougars will join the Big 12 in all sports in 2023. Along with No. 1 Texas, current Big 12 schools that finished ahead of BYU were No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 23 Oklahoma State.