Football’s Holy Week

Forget what you’ve learned in school about the crusades and wars all in the name of God, the real holy war is between BYU and Utah and tomorrow they come to blows on the battlefield.  There are two things I’ve learned that people here in Utah don’t mess around with: religion and football.  And I’m not quite sure of the order of importance either.  Each team’s fans seethe hostility and disdain for the other with such force that it’s a bit alarming and disturbing.  I mean these guys HATE each other.  BYU fans joke about themselves being God’s football team (BYU is a religious school if you didn’t know) and Utah being the team of the devil (their uniforms are red).  And since Utah is ranked higher they joke that even God can’t save BYU football.  A phrase used a lot by Utah is “Do you bleed red?”  Of course indicating their absolute devotion to their team with the illusion that they would die for them.  But I playing the devil’s advocate once said to someone “But your blood is naturally blue (BYU’s team color).”  The response back? “Yeah but when it’s spilt it turns red.  That’s the important part – it turns red.”  Whoa, buddy!  The taunting can actually get down right nasty and personal and in some cases, has turned violent.

Now me, I don’t care one way or another.  I have no real ties to either university except that I happen to live in the heart of the Cougars (BYU).  I wore a BYU sweatshirt to work a few weeks ago not realizing that I had.  It was the first sweatshirt I caught as I pulled at a mountain of them in my closet.  My boss, who is a BYU fan, pointed it out during our meeting and jokingly thanked me for lending my support to the cause.  Ironically, the other girl in our lab was wearing her Utah shirt that same day.  Just to show I’m impartial I wore a red sweatshirt the next day.

As for my family, I would say we’re pretty split down the middle between the two teams.  For team Utah I have an uncle that was the girl’s track coach for the university, an aunt and uncle that are members of the Crimson Club, and both my dad and uncle graduated from the U.  For team BYU I have an uncle who has life passes to all the games, brother – in – law who graduated there, sister who graduated from there (though she also attended the U – traitor.  Just kidding), and my grandpa worked on campus for 30+ years or something like that.  I attended an off shoot of BYU in Hawaii but our colors were red…hmm, curious.

A few years ago a friend came across tickets to the big game and the seats were awesome.  High enough to see everything but not too high and right on the 50 yard line.  The energy in the stadium was out of control and I believe the game had to go into overtime with BYU coming out as the victors, which was exciting because the game was held in BYU’s stadium.  Even for a non football fan it was electric.  This year however, I’m thrilled the game will be held up in Salt Lake at the Utes’ stadium. I live about 10-15 minutes from the Cougar stadium and unless you’re going to the game, the best thing for you to do is to not venture out of your house unless it’s to leave town.  Traffic is insane and you’ll be in your car for almost the same amount of time as the game itself.

No matter which team you’re rooting for, the game won’t be a let down with stakes riding high for each side.  BYU has a shot at a share of the Mountain West Conference Title IF they can beat Utah.  And while Utah already has a share of the MWC Title they have a chance to go to a BCS Bowl game IF they can beat BYU.  For fans on either side, this should be a good game.

*cripes!  I just remembered that one year we took a family picture completely divided in wearing BYU or U of U sweatshirts.  I’m going to have to dig around for that!


8 thoughts on “Football’s Holy Week

  1. For the record: I was turned down, that’s right, turned down from BYU which is why I attended the U for an entire quarter. That’s right… a quarter. A whole quarter. Then I transferred to the Y. I love love love the rivalry and I’d be wearing blue right now if I hadn’t forgot and put on my orange sweater this morning.

    Testy test! Guess the rivalry runs deep indeed. Maybe I’ll wear my BYU Hawaii sweatshirt tomorrow. It says BYU but in red letters.

  2. Like you, I’m impartial…I must say, though, that one year we went to THAT game in SLC with Rod & Sue and didn’t wear clothes that indicated either team. (again I truly do not care either way)

    I did notice as the professor and I were sitting within a crowd of both fans we got ragged on pretty badly by Ute fans because we were not wearing red & the cougar fans didn’t seem to even notice us at all. (I don’t remember what we were wearing, but I know it wasn’t blue either)

    The Ute fans started bashing the church (unprovoked in this case)…but what do you say? It’s not like they would say oh sorry…that was uncalled for. Yeah, right.

    Q. Can’t the religion factor stay out of it ? Stick to the game already!!

    A. Hell no it can’t…why would I even think of asking?

    See that’s what I’m talking about. It gets nasty and personal. BYU fans might be a bit eccentric but Utah fans are just mean. I’ll stay in my room tomorrow reading I think.

  3. Mark applied to Utah’s pharmacy school, and his family threatened to disown us if we actually went there. They would rather us move 1000 miles away than to attend Utah. Hmmmm…..

    Ack!! Really? Talk about being loyal BYU fans.

  4. Well…I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    But, I lived up on the mountain with a guy from Utah and I really didn’t like him. He was the most self-cenetered person that I had ever met. I am sure it isn’t indicative of all people from Utah, but this guy ruined it for all of the good ones.

    The point is…he wore a Utes sweatshirt and for that, I root against them…even if they were playing against Tehran U.

    That’s too bad this guy was a jerk b/c really, not everyone from here is. But your reasoning for rooting against them is as good as any other.

  5. Aw the Holy War. I absolutly love it. Probably because I love to see people make total fools out of themselves and become overly passionate about something stupid. (Apparently it’s a great week for that what with the Twilight release AND the Holy War) My Mother went to BYU and my Dad went to Utah. I know what your thinking… they are practically Romeo and Juliet. However I do not take either side.

    Oh how could I have forgotten Twilight opened this weekend? That’s awesome about your parents though. Come to think of it, my mom might have attended BYU as well while my dad went to the U. Or maybe she didn’t but she is from Provo and my dad is from Salt Lake.

  6. That is probably the best rivalry nickname that I can think of.

    Football rivalries in college are way intense. My brother and I both went to the same school so we’re pretty unanimous in my family. That said, the best descriptor came from a guy who used to play linebacker at my school:

    “Growing up in (insert state here), I always knew it was a huge game. I didn’t realize how big though until our bus turned into the parking lot right next to (insert rival school’s name here) fans and there were these 80-year old women decked out in (insert school colors here) who were flipping us the bird…”

    LOL!! Old people sometimes really crack me up. I love how they can get away with just about anything.

  7. ESPN used to run jokes for Rivalry Week. My personal favorites were an anti-Tennessee joke and an anti-Nebraska joke.

    Why do Tennessee fans wear orange?
    So they can go to the game on Saturday, hunt on Sunday, and pick up trash by the roadside the rest of the week.

    What does the “N” on the Nebraska helmet stand for?

    I have either personal experience or close acquaintances who are elbow-deep in the UNC/Duke, Michigan/Ohio State, Auburn/Alabama, Iowa/Iowa State, Louisville/Kentucky, and Virginia/Virginia Tech rivalries. I know I hate Va Tech with an irrational passion, but I think they all pale beside the Michigan/Ohio State and Auburn/Alabama people. Them folks is crazy.

    Those jokes were pretty funny. To be honest I really don’t understand the whole rivalry thing. Sure it’s fun until someone takes it seriously and then it’s just crazy insane.

  8. My family is split Penn State and Ohio State. No one in my family is sure what color my blood is supposed to be since I keep wavering about who I cheer for (we’re college football people in my family). But as TB pointed out, my family does go a little insane during the Ohio State/Michigan games. It has gotten ugly a couple times.

    Yeah I’m not really loyal to a set team either. If BYU is playing I’ll root for them and if the U of U is playing then I root for them. When they play each other I turn off the TV.

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