† – Conference champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1996 season started with a loss at Utah State, but the team quickly turned things around, winning the next 7 games and climbing to a #20 ranking in the AP Poll. This run came to a crashing halt when the Utes suffered their worst loss in six years to the Rice Owls, giving up 496 yards rushing. This set the tone for the end of the season, with the Utes going 1-3 in their last four games, giving up a total of 1,439 yards rushing in these 4 games (359.75 avg), including a 38–10 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the 1996 Copper Bowl.