Dick Harmon: Self-interest at heart of Utah's decision on rivalry with BYU

Published: Saturday, July 14 2012 9:35 p.m. MDT

From San Diego to Fort Worth, Columbus, Lincoln or Boise to Honolulu and Logan, athletic directors have scrambled to take care of their own.

Both Hill and BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe say it is the intention of both parties to get the football game back on track.

I believe them.

But neither can predict what might happen after the shakeup summer we saw in 2010 and the fallout that came in its wake.

Both would be stupid not to have contingencies or flexibility with some contracts. Change and protect yourself, this is today's mantra. Just this week a Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling agreement fell through. Who is to say BYU might be headed back to a conference in a year or so?

Change and self protect.

It appears Hill and Holmoe have been consistently in one another's ears in a friendly respectful way over this rivalry deal.

That's good enough for me.

Let's just hope they play it right.

You can't just dial up an opponent on 1-800-Rivalries.

The intense passion that propels players and fans in the Utah-BYU deal is as unique as anywhere on the planet.

You can't buy it.

You can't schedule someone to find it.

You can't force it or fiddle too much with it.

Many schools would die to find such a die-hard game to traditionally ride every season. The fever, the emotion, the tradition? It must develop over time, take on a spontaneous kind of combustion on its own.

To let it perpetually slide? That really would be stupid.

And a shame.

email: dharmon@desnews.com

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