BYU has a bye this week which gives us some time to look forward. BYU sealed its postseason fate last weekend and have accepted their invitation to the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. It was also announced that they will face a Pac12 opponent. Almost immediately all of Utah was salivating at the possibility of having a BYU vs. Utah bowl game. I however was not one of them. Although it would be “fun” to see BYU vs. Utah, here is why I am hoping that it doesn’t happen.
Reason #1-Haven’t we had enough?:
Four consecutive losses are already weighing heavy on the Cougars (and their fans). Yes, BYU is playing well as of late and Utah has been slumping and I do think BYU would win the game; but is it worth the risk? What would be the upside nationally for BYU to beat Utah (see reason #3). If you add another loss to Utah, two in one season, I just don’t think my little heart could take it. I need a break from the rivalry and I think BYU does too. (see reason #2)
Reason #2-Redefine Success:
Since becoming an FBS independent BYU seemingly has little to play for each football season. BYU will not win conference titles, break conference records, or have first team all conference players because they have no conference. The hopes of a BCS berth seem slimmer than when BYU was part of the MWC. With little to hang their hat on at the end of the season, the Utah game has become the pillar of success, or in this case failure, for BYU. Just look at the game earlier this season as an example. The Utah game was set up as the game of the year. BYU even broke out the royal blue uniforms. Yes, the royal blue uniforms. The magic in the uniforms was not there and BYU lost, again. The point is that the outcome of the rivalry game goes a long way in defining BYU’s season.
On the opposite sideline you have the Utah Utes of the Pac12. They have, in theory, a conference championship to play for and a BCS berth in their reach every season. A game against non-conference BYU seemingly means nothing to the success of their season, although winning is always nice (they should know). They are not defined by the outcome of the rivalry game because they, and their fans, have the Pac12 banner to hide behind.
The best thing for BYU and its fans (including me) is to redefine success without Utah on the schedule. Why not start with the Fight Hunger Bowl? Then continue into next season. The offense will be a year removed from a complete overhaul and the defense seems to be reloading each season and not rebuilding. If BYU can have success during these two years (success=double digit wins) and find the national spotlight they can define success anew for the players who will have never played Utah. BYU can show the nation that teams need them on their schedule. That they can play with Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, USC and Notre Dame. Do you put Utah in the same category as those teams? BYU will then have a new gauge of success that looks beyond the BYU/Utah rivalry.
This is really my #1 reason but I liked the rhyme. But in all seriousness, I would rather see BYU play USC than Utah. Am I the only one? USC is a premiere college football school. When BYU became an independent it was with the hopes of playing with the big boys (Utah was not one of them at the time). USC is having an off year which could leave them right around #6 in the Pac 12 but they are still USC. BYU is 0-2 against USC in their only two meetings and there is no better time for BYU to set the tone for the upcoming games against USC than with a win in San Fran. Plus BYU will have the chance to do something this season that the other two schools from the state could not do: beat USC. This is the matchup I am hoping for.
—Who do you want to see BYU face off against in the Fight Hunger Bowl?—