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Amy Donaldson: We need to keep the Utah Utes-BYU Cougars rivalry

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  • Lake Powell Hauula, HI
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    Lets me honest. That game is what makes the rivalry great! Its a shame the Utah has decided that BYU is too big of an challenge to play each year. Can you imagine Notre Dame decided to not play Michigan or USC? You can pretend that it's the u moving on but all utah fans know in there hearts that the u of u has sold out. Has taken the easy way out. Don't give me the well Colorado will now be our rivals. That will never hold a candle to what Utah and BYU has here. A majority of fans on both sides want it to continue. If you cant beat BYU you shouldn't be in a big bowl anyway. Your AD is a coward and anyone else who decided to forgo one of the greatest rivalries in the country. I'm surprised there is not more anger on the U's side. You shouldn't stand for this. I think this is one area both Utah and BYU fans can agree. The rival should not end

  • Buffalo1 McLean, VA
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    I disagree, if the game is to be played only intermittently in September.

    For Utah, the game has more downside than upside. Statistically, they'll lose close to half of the games, and certainly the game isn't a tune-up for PAC-12 play. There stated desire is to schedule down in September, not up -- and I can understand their reasoning.

    For BYU, September scheduling isn't a problem. We can get opponents equal to (or better than) Utah in September. BYU's problem is getting quality opponents in the back half of October and November. If the game could be moved to a "Thanksgiving Classic", I could see it making sense for BYU. In September, it doesn't make sense.

    This isn't meant to be sour grapes, nor a bashing of Utah. It's just fact. If this is going to be played only every few years in September, then both schools should move on to other opponents. This may be true for other sports like basketball, where neither team needs each other on the schedule anymore either. Just a thought. Let the series die, and RIP.

    Buffalochip1

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    I've posted this a couple of times, but I think the Utes and their fans are the ones who really takes the rivalry seriously. They show up for these games with intensity while some of our players (i.e. Riley) and coaches (i.e. Mendenhall) look like they're sleepwalking. I was waaaaayyy more excited about this game than most of my team. If BYU had won the last 3 and then Utah dropped us, I would have reason to complain. This is the most unsatisfying way and time of all to stop playing!!

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    Dr. Hill is doing the wrong thing. Perhaps he takes his action after listening to Bill Clinton about his behavior: "I did it because I could."

  • Robert Johnson Sunland, CA
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    The fact of the matter is, the rivalry should end. It goes without saying that Utah has moved on and has loftier goals. Whether you hate to say it or not, BYU is just a distraction to Utah's new goals. It was a great rivalry when it meant something, but it doesn't mean anything to Utah anymore. Sometimes good things must come to an end. If there ever comes a time when BYU and Utah are playing in the same league, then by all means renew the rivalry. But in today's College Football world it is not in Utah's interests to play this game...that's just a simple fact.

  • Elmer Fudd Sandy, Utah
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    "We need to keep the Utah Utes-BYU Cougars rivalry"

    We're tired of beating the Cougies every year! BYU should be grateful for Utah's decision to spare them a guaranteed loss every year.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    The Utes and Chris Hill are just plain chicken. That is the bottom line. All this horse hockey about wanting to play other opponents is bunk. The Utes are just plain chicken.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:20 a.m.

    Bottom line: Utah does not want to (and should not) play BYU any more because it no longer benefits Utah. Utah's goal is to win conference championships and BYU does not factor into that goal any more.

    When Utah plays BYU it can do nothing but hurt Utah. If Utah wins there's no benefit because beating an independent mid-major is the expectation. But if Utah loses it's a disaster. No upside and plenty of downside equals no more reason for Utah to want to play BYU...end of story, Amy.

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    Very well written article. I agree with every word. I am a season-ticket-holding, long-time Ute fan, and I think Dr. Hill is getting this one dead wrong. I am excited about all the Pac 12 stuff, but we shouldn't betray our roots or our traditions. I took my son with me to the game on Saturday and what fun we had (not just because of the win--it was fun because the game was entertaining, right down to the last .1 seconds). To think that he might grown up (he is only 7) and not experience the great fun of this storied rivalry makes me ache. I know that some carry it too far, but in my experience, it is just plain fun.

    I detest this "we have moved on" line of thinking. I know there are reasons on paper to cancel, but they are outweighed by the great tradition. I was watching the Utes crush Northern Colorado and thinking, "This is what we are getting instead of the BYU game?" I desperately hope that Dr. Hill will rethink this misguided decision.

    Big conferences and TV deals are sucking the fun out of college football.

  • D4inSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    Nice article Amy. However, as Robin mentioned there is no upside for Utah. And no, Flashback it's not because the U is chicken, it's because there is no point in it. I am ready to move on.

  • BYU_Aggie LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    I was adamant about keeping the rivalry going, but after Saturday's game, I'm all for letting it go away.

    For starters, that game was a total garbage fest. Both sides played really sloppy (BYU, of course, played sloppier), and was full of stupid penalties. I enjoy a close game at the end just as much as the next person, but all those crazy calls and penalties at the end were ridiculous.

    Secondly, a rivalry is only a rivalry if both teams really want to get each other. Apparently, Utah fans are beyond BYU now, and the administration seems to agree. Michigan/Ohio State, Auburn/Alabama, etc. are such a great rivalries because both schools want to win that game more than anything else in the season. If Utah wants to turn their backs on the historic rivalry, let them do it. Just like my fellow USU fans *should* attest to, you can't force a rivalry if it's one-sided.

  • Duckhunted highland, utah
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    I love the fact BYU "fans" call Utah chicken for ending the every year rivalry!! I guess not playing a team that has won 3 of the last 11 games is being chicken then, in your delusional minds, then yes Utah is afraid to play you. NOT!

  • Freight Train Houston, TX
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    Just another dull, emotionless BYU/Utah game. These games are getting so boring, anti-climatic, and passionless. The games are definitely lacking entertainment value for us poor fans.

    The Utah games against Northern Colorado and the FCS in September to "warm up for the PAC-12" are much more interesting and intriguing to watch... and a great way to reward your paying customers, the fans. Who cares about a 100-year rivalry between two storied neighbors. As Ute fans say "our new rival is Colorado." What a great rivalry they're forming against a high-quality opponent! I'm sure the fans will also rush the field every time Utah beats their new "rival" by 30 points, because the games are so exciting.

    Seriously guys, there is obviously no "upside" for Utah or BYU (who actually has more to lose than Utah without a conference championship to play for) to play this game. But rivalries aren't about upside- they're about tradition, history, and fantastic entertainment for the fans.

    Dr. Hill, if you have any sense at all you'd rethink your decision after watching Saturday's game. It proved that, even in September, the rivalry lives on!

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    IMO:

    1. Right now, Utah has a better football program with better raw talented athletes than BYU.
    2. Utah has a better recruitment opportunity. (BYU has a state of the art media center for worldwide exposure)
    2. Utah has a better chance than BYU for a national championship (BCS conference vs. independence).
    3. National championship is the only accolade that really matters at the end of the season and Chris Hill knows it.
    4. Despite a great rivalry, if Utah EVER loses to BYU (it can happen), Utah has no chance of a BCS championship.
    5. Utah fans love intensity but hate losing and especially hate losing to BYU. (Some actually hate BYU period and visa versa)

    Utah fans will never storm the field after beating Colorado but would do it every win against BYU. Now Ute fans, please tell me with a straight face that Utah has "moved on" and is tired of playing BYU. Even Chris Hill is more intellectually honest than that.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    It's a shame that Utah discarded BYU after having been included by BYU for so many years. The close relationship the schools enjoyed for so long was lost once the U joined the PAC12. The rivalry died that day and thus the games should not continue on a regular basis.

  • IA Cougar West Des Moines, IA
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Utah has sold their soul to money. As a fan of the rivalry, Utah has sold out. I don't buy all the garbage about what's good for Utah and how they have nothing to "win" by playing BYU. Now that you are in the Pac 12 you are stooping yourselves to play a lowly mid major independent? I think this game should be about more than money. It should be about the fans. When thousands of fans storm the field, albeit three times....that tells me about passion and the need to keep the game. Utah State and BYU should remain on the schedule. Money will say no to that and Chris Hill is sold on money, not the fan base. A shame but we will all have to move on. Great game Saturday night by two teams who deserve this rivalry. Sad to see it end.

  • U 90 Corona, CA
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    Johnny Triumph said, "It's a shame that Utah discarded BYU after having been included by BYU for so many years"

    What does that even mean.... after having been included by BYU for so many years? Specifics please.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    @Lake Powell
    "Its a shame the Utah has decided that BYU is too big of an challenge to play each year."

    That's just silly. Too big a challenge? Utah won 3 years in a row. You know why we have trouble scheduling BYU? Because we moved to the PAC-12 and have only 3 out of conference games instead of 4, AND we don't have BYU in the conference. So instead of guaranteed meetings with BYU and needing to use 1 of 4 slots to fill Utah State, we'd have to use 2 of 3 slots to fill BYU and Utah State every year. That's just not really feasible since it's obvious that
    A: Utah wants to play quality out of conference teams like Michigan (sidenote: how is it running away from BYU when Utah is scheduling the more difficult Michigan?).
    B: Utah wants one tune-up gimme type game each year (see: Northern Colorado, Montana State or Weber State).

    So that leaves 1 non-conference game a year, and two instate schools. They are still playing BYU 2013, 2016, and Utah State 2013 2014, 2015.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    @Buffalo1
    "There stated desire is to schedule down in September, not up -- and I can understand their reasoning."

    Seriously, did all you BYU fans forget that Utah is replacing BYU with Michigan?

  • SportsFann Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:42 a.m.

    The Utes are definitely at this point doing better than BYU. Funny thing is that how Utah fans and program have forgotten those 10 years when BYU won the Holy War. I don't recall BYU ever saying degrading things about Utah. There was always respect even when the Cougars were dominating. The arrogance of the University of Utah is real strange. I mean have you been to a basketball game lately? Should BYU drop the Utes? What good comes from playing the Utes at this point? They are horrible. Thing is, I have not heard comments like this from Tom Holmoe or Dave Rose. Keep the rivalry game alive. It is too much fun and great for the state. You know, the people who pay taxes in the state of Utah. Unfortunately the Utes' arrogance will win out and they will "move on." What a slap in the face of the state. By the way, BYU will be fine without the game, but it's still a shame.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:46 a.m.

    @SportsFann
    "I don't recall BYU ever saying degrading things about Utah."

    I'm not even sure BYU can even beat Utah without turning it into some rant about how Utah is classless or some assertion that they're living better on and off the field. That was one thing that was refreshing about losing to Utah State... we could actually lose to an in-state school without having our character questioned.

  • Who am I sir? Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    BYU boast to recruits they can play anyone anywhere in the country. Then they want the University of Utah to commit to playing them every year in one of only three games the University plays outside the PAC-12 conference. They have no idea how big it will be to play teams like Michigan away and here in Salt Lake City. Next year the Y will get some idea how touch it is to play more than three or four BCS teams in the same year. Last year the U played 11 BCS teams in their 13 games (and the Y was one of the two non-BCS teams). In the next 6 years Utah will play USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon all 6 years, Stanford 4 times and Michigan twice. That is not to mention the remaining PAC-12 opponents scheduled.

    I have loved the Y rivalry games the past decade or so but from the above one can see the Y and the U have entirely different scheduling interests and purposes!

    Thanks for the memories and good luck in the future.

  • TheKingB OREM, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    I just get disgusted by some of these comments..."We're tired of beating the Cougies every year!" @Elmer Fudd @Brave Sir Robin "Bottom line: Utah does not want to (and should not) play BYU any more because it no longer benefits Utah." @Robert Johnson "BYU is just a distraction to Utah's new goals." Blah Blah Blah How can you ever get tired of watching these rivalry games? Almost every year is action packed and interesting. Isn't that why we watch football? I could see your point if BYU dropped down to a gimme blow out victory for Utah every year and the talent level was on par with Northern Colorado/Weber State, but that is definitely not the case. Obviously a large portion of Utah fans feel like the game was big enough to rush the field 3 times... you don't rush the field when you beat teams you don't think you should play anymore. Stop the lies.

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 17, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    I am tired of the arrogance of Hill, Whittingham, the entire Utah Administration, the PAC12 and mostly Utah fans. If they don't want the game then, well, so be it (not what I really wanted to say but the D News doesn't allow profanity!)

    Looking at the games over the past 20 years, there is no better rivalry than this. But if Utah is now "better" than BYU, so be it. BYU will be just fine.

    Let's all move on.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    @ alt134

    Winning two games, each on your home field, by a missed field goal, isn't exactly the stuff that makles one program a powerhouse and light years ahead of another. (Even USC lost on Saturday.)

    I was hoping for an over-time game, not because the Cougars played well enough, but to sort of let Utah students/fans know that premature celebrating is not very classy. Of course Coach Whit had his usual remarks about "winning 3 times" etc.

    Congratulations to Utah: you squeeked by again on BYU mistakes, not on your own talent base. Have a great time in PAC 12 play, seeing how you lost to USU and won over BYU on a missed field goal, by just inches. It should be interesting to see if U quality for a bowl this year.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 1:09 p.m.

    Ok, operating under the assumption that U of U management should do "what's best for fans" (is that a correct assumption?) then let's have a poll...of reading Utah fans, how many of you would rather 1) win the PAC-12 and possibly get in a BCS game and win it or 2) play a close BYU rivalry game every year, which might possibly (within one foot of a field goal kick or so) add an "L"? I guess if the answer is 1) then they've done what's best for fans...it's the fans choice if you don't like it then complain to the U management...
    -r

  • altahoops Provo, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    "It was a great rivalry when it meant something, but it doesn't mean anything to Utah anymore."

    Doesn't mean anything to Utah anymore? Huh? Did you see the Utah student body swarm the field, not once, not twice, but three times as if they had just won a national championship? I've heard this lame statement multiple times, but based on the reaction from Ute fans, umm, yeah, it does still mean something. It means a whole lot.

  • JustTheTruthMan bountiful, ut
    Sept. 17, 2012 1:34 p.m.

    Seriously, did all you BYU fans forget that Utah is replacing BYU with Michigan? The tragedy with this errant line of thinking is it leaves open the week where little princess from the FCS can roll into town.. So yes, you weakened your september in 2014 and 2015. Simple facts of life in the reality that is real!

  • JustTheTruthMan bountiful, ut
    Sept. 17, 2012 1:39 p.m.

    I believe that what was proven on and since Saturday night between 11pm and midnight is that when dealing with the University of Utah fan base you are dealing with ... oh, let's throw in Chris hill and Kyle Whittingham into the mix. I know he was talking out his rear end in the heat of emotion, but it doesn't justify the kindergarten type logic and thought patterns so far too frequently expressed by the fans and the staff of the University of Utah. It is time to graduate from kindergarten and move into the first grade... Or what I'd really like to see is you guys turning into college graduates. The juvenile nature of your whole existence has grown tired!

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 2:21 p.m.

    @ atl134

    "Utah wants one tune-up gimme type game each year (see: Northern Colorado, Montana State or Weber State)."

    Utah is much better than a second tier BYU, right? Why not demand that Chris Hill make BYU the yearly "tune up gimme". BYU will never win. Utah will get a good work out. The house will be packed. TV ratings will be good. Your fans will be satisfied that the game is not a total waste of time. Utah can still schedule Michigan whenever they want because it would be an honor for any team in the nation to get a call from the University of Utah. And Ute fans can still have some fun at their "little brother's" expense.

    What's there not to like about this idea?

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    Chris Hill said it is about building the national brand. Saturday's game was fun to watch -- for fans in Utah. Even though it was ESPN, the game was on too late to make the highlight reels. Besides, the nation was more interested in Notre Dame and Michigan State. This game is not building national brand for either team.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    @ SportsFann
    No Utah Fans have not forgot about BYU wins in the rivalry. There may have been respect, but that may have had more to do with being in the same conference than anything else. I think BYU fans forget the "arrogance" shown by BYU in 03, 04, 05, and 07, when even with 4 OC games avaliable BYU could not find room on their schedule for Utah State. They were looking to "upgrade" their schedule and USU did not fit the plan. However, the likes of Eastern Illinois, and Easter Washington did. Yes Utah traded their away game with USU for Notre Dame in 2010. BYU would have done the same. And to be honest I have no idea why they didn't play last year. But at least Utah has so far maintained home and home with USU, BYU hasn't. In the last 4 years the games have been at LES 3 times and Romney once.

    Had Utah and BYU not been in the same conference, I wonder how often BYU would have scheduled Utah or how big the rivalry really would have been. But please stop accusing Utah for doing the same thing BYU has done.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    @Lake Powell
    "Can you imagine Notre Dame decided to not play Michigan or USC?"

    Actually yes. The Michigan/Notre Dame series will take a hiatus in 2018 and 2019.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Sept. 17, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    JustTheTruthMan said:

    "Seriously, did all you BYU fans forget that Utah is replacing BYU with Michigan? The tragedy with this errant line of thinking is it leaves open the week where little princess from the FCS can roll into town.. So yes, you weakened your september in 2014 and 2015. Simple facts of life in the reality that is real!"

    And BYU will be be replacing Notre Dame with Idaho State once they back out of their contract to work with the ACC.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:40 p.m.

    I have not been a fan of the rivalry, too mean spirited. I don't understand why I can't wear my U shirt in Salt Lake without people acting like I just swore at BYU.

    However, due to the close games with USU and BYU, I want all three teams to clean up this year. I am excited to be an Aggie and Cougar too.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 5:49 p.m.

    @toosmartforyou
    "Winning two games, each on your home field, by a missed field goal, isn't exactly the stuff that makles one program a powerhouse and light years ahead of another. "

    I didn't claim that, I merely noted the 3 in a row as a rebuttal to the idea that BYU is "too big a challenge" (as well as noting that we replaced them with Michigan which is not what you do when you're trying to run away from a school you think is too tough).

    I frequently cite that the average Sagarin ranking (at season's end) for Utah and BYU over the past 5 years is something like 33 for Utah and 35 for BYU, a rather trivial difference.

    @rogerdpack2
    "how many of you would rather "

    I pick 1 but your choices made it a guaranteed PAC-12 title. If your options were "automatic win against someone non-conference" or "play BYU" I'd take the latter. I just ask for games against at least 1 of Utah State/BYU each year which is the plan for the next 4 years.

  • #1 SLC Sports Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 6:18 p.m.

    It's time for BYU to do the right thing and just drop their football program. The Big 12 will not take them due to their hypocritical Sunday scheduling issues (the game against Utah that started Saturday evening officially ended on Sunday morning!), that they perpetually make a scene about even though Big 12 presidents and now even media partners have said they would give them an out on, but the entire league? Who are they trying to kid! As I've said repeatedly, the time has come to at the very least "Rexburgize" the football program. Focus on the WCC and embrace them fully by quitting the football program while you're ahead, and not annoying your new partners financially. Utah should focus on playing Utah State more often, their "real" long-time in-state rival as opposed to that "interloping, think they're hot academic stuff school down south!"

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    In terms of competition, I can't think of a better rivalry. I can think of actually around 6-7 games that literally were decided on the game's final play. That makes for great drama. Whether it was the MUSS prematurely rushing the field, kickers hitting goalposts, Harline catching a pass on the final play or Ute kickers nailing 54 yard FG's to win, this game has had it all. I would like to see the Utes and Cougs work this out.

    Utah should play its 9 PAC-12 games, BYU, Utah State and then it can still schedule a softy like Northern Colorado, though I would love them to schedule Weber or SUU if they were going to go this route, OR they could schedule a Big 10 team.

    But again, I can't think of any rivalry in regards to providing fans with close and dramatic games year in and year out that is as good as this rivalry.

  • Tomahawk Red North Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 19, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    "Flashback
    Kearns, UT
    The Utes and Chris Hill are just plain chicken. That is the bottom line. All this horse hockey about wanting to play other opponents is bunk. The Utes are just plain chicken."

    -------

    -3 in a row
    -4 of last 5
    -8 of last 11

    Chicken. Yeah, sure.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 19, 2012 6:10 p.m.

    This is hysterical. BYU is hypocritical? Whatever. OK, let's all move on. Maybe best. No convincing either side (myself included) what's best so forget it. I'll be sure to worship RES when I drive by.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 11:49 a.m.

    @ Balan 12:26 p.m. Sept. 17, 2012

    If anyone can recognize pride I mean arrogance its a byu fan.

    p.s. Are you afraid to do your best Falslev impersonation?

    @ Cowboy Dude 4:40 p.m. Sept. 17, 2012

    "I don't understand why I can't wear my U shirt in Salt Lake without people acting like I just swore at BYU."

    Repression & conditioning are funny things. Though, I'd imagine its worse the Wasatch Front where there even fewer Utah fans,

    However, due to the close games with USU and BYU, I want all three teams to clean up this year. I am excited to be an Aggie and Cougar too.