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!