BYU and Utah have had a strong and often heated rivalry for 90 years. With the exception of 1943-1945 (World War II), the two teams have played annually in football. However, because Utah is now a member of the Pac-12 and BYU an independent, they no longer have the luxury of automatically playing each other every year as conference foes.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been under the gun for recent comments claiming that the Ute program is “bigger than the rivalry.” While many fans are disappointed in the likelihood of the annual rivalry ending, it brings up a worthwhile question, “What really matters?”
Learning a Lesson from Alabama
Late Saturday night, a fatal shooting occurred at the University of Auburn. Among the victims were some Auburn football players. While this incident is undoubtedly tragic, it triggered somewhat of a miracle.
Any regular sports fan knows that the University of Alabama and Auburn are arch rivals. They have historically hated each other. In fact, many of us remember just over a year ago when an Alabama fan was arrested for poisoning an oak tree at Toomer’s Corner. The tree is an icon to Auburn nation and the incident brought the rivalry to a whole new level.
After the tragic shooting, however, fans from both sides of the line as well as from other parts of the college sports world, came together to share their condolences.
Here are just a few tweets that soon followed the news of the shooting:
@rolltide_pisco: Prayers to the victims down at Auburn
@JuliaHalliday: Even though I’m a die hard Alabama friend, please pray for Auburn. #RIPEdChristian #RIPLadariousPhillips #staystrongErickMack
@DoraAnnette: I may be an Alabama fan, but I’m definitely praying for the friends and families of the people who got shot in auburn!
@mgcather: Prayers to the Auburn Family #ROLLEAGLE
@_SWhite21: bama and auburn are rivals on the field that’s it. Off the field, we’re all human and we’re all a family #WarTide and #RollEagle
@RockyTopVols: Absolutely terrible news in Auburn, Alabama this morning. Prayers are with the #AU family from the #Vols Nation in Tennessee!
While a healthy rivalry makes up the heart of college football, at some point we have to wonder how far do they need to go? What really matters?
I am right in line with those that would love to see the BYU vs Utah rivalry continue. However, I think it is time to take a step back and focus on what really matters.
So while BYU fans will still poke fun at Jordan Wynn’s flowing locks and Utah fans can come back with “54-10″ what really matters is that these kids are getting a good education, staying off the streets, and learning how to be role models for younger generations. And that is something we all can root for – rivalry or not.