This is the week I used to wait all football season for. Rivalry week: the Holy War between BYU and Utah. This week, more than any other, has the ability to split the state in half. Even Utah State fans take sides in this one. This week can split neighbors, friends, work environments, and even families. I won’t wear anything red this week, and will actually dissuade my kids from wearing anything red the whole week. Most of the time it’s all a bunch of harmless fun – a bit of teasing back and forth between co-workers perhaps, but nothing nasty. Sometimes things can be taken too far, and that’s a shame and shouldn’t be tolerated.
The football rivalry is now part of the bigger (and pointless) Deseret First Duel. The Duel tracks the winners as BYU and Utah compete against each other in football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s swimming. Points assigned to each competition and totaled at the end of the school year in the spring. Football and Men’s basketball are the worth the most at 10 points each, while everything else is worth 3 points each. Outside of football and basketball, does anyone really care about the others (except for those who actually participate)?
This year the game is the last one to be held for a while (the game won’t be played in 2014 and 2015) because of Utah’s cowardly Athletic Director scheduling difficulties within the Pac-12. BYU has dropped the last 3 and are hungry for a win. The Utes would love nothing more than to get out of Provo with the W – and bragging rights for a couple of more years.
I’m not going to get into a full breakdown of the game here. That will come later in the week, and from multiple sources (hint – look for a BYU/Utah preview podcast Friday night here on Torn By Sports). Right now, just a few quick thoughts about the upcoming game.
- BYU is coming off a bye week after beating up on Texas in Provo 2 weeks ago. Bronco Mendenhall has a very impressive track record when he has more than 1 week to prepare for an opponent.
- Utah is coming off a disappointing overtime loss to Oregon State this past weekend in Salt Lake, and will be looking to get back on track.
- Based on what I saw the past couple of weeks, this game has the potential to break an all-time record for most number of combined yards rushing by the two opposing quarterbacks in a game.
- Then again – both defenses will be going in determined to stop the other from running at all costs.
- BYU is favored at home by 7 points – and the weather looks like it may just cooperate this weekend.
Enjoy the rivalry week. Keep it fun – not nasty. Maybe tell a joke at the other school’s expense. Make a bet with a guy at church that the loser has to wear the winning school’s tie on Sunday. Invite a bunch of fans of both schools over to watch the game. And most importantly…GO COUGARS!