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Steve Eaton: No one can take away Saturday's big game when the Utes host the Cougars

Published: Friday, Sept. 14 2012 12:25 p.m. MDT

Fans watch as the two teams face off just before kickoff as Utah and BYU play at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Nov. 27, 2010.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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There are a lot of informed people writing this week about what to expect from the big BYU-Utah game, but not very many uninformed people are weighing in.

So I thought I needed to represent them. Sometimes people make these games more complicated than they are.

I went to BYU back in the olden days when things were much simpler. We didn’t play that many really big schools, so it seemed like we always won — sometimes by 60 points. I liked that better because we could then brag about how good “we” were and challenge anyone to come and play us. We would play them right then, even though we’d just played a game, and no one ever showed up. They didn’t dare.

So we knew we were the best — until that big game with the Utes. That’s when life got very tense and uneasy.

Back in those days, I just considered the University of Utah the bad guys, and that’s pretty much all I needed to know. It was only after I grew up, got a job and discovered workplace synergistic, dynamic, overtime-stress teamwork that the world started to get more complicated.

That’s when I discovered that right next to the U. of U. is the world’s best pizza place, the Pie Pizzeria. How could such a heavenly place exist right next to the bad guys' campus? That shook my faith and made me begin to wonder if there were some good people who wore red.

Even though I love watching an exciting football game, I must admit I don’t understand it like most guys. I don’t know what a wide, double-slot formation is or what an off-tackle Heimlich maneuver is. In my defense, when I went to high school, our team would just fumble on every play and the game was just a matter of watching the referees to see who had the ball. Then when I went to BYU, we would pass on every play. That was simple enough.

And I must admit I am the only fan in all of footballdumb who goes for the fake every time. When the quarterback fakes a hand-off, the other players who can’t see over each other are supposed to go charging after the decoy guy. They usually don’t, and that is very troubling to me. I’ll be watching the game and suddenly everyone will lose total interest in the guy I think has the ball. It doesn’t make sense. It’s sort of like watching your neighbor mow the lawn, only to suddenly see him wander off with the mower still going down the center of the street.

Speaking of something being confusing and not making sense, I was very sad to hear that the BYU-Utah rivalry game might not be forever. The benefit of that contest is that no matter how bad your life is going, you can always hope for a win in that all-important game that will make everything better. If you lose, well then it gets much worse, but there is always next year and synergistic, overtime teamwork.

It kind of makes me wonder how anyone could get so deep in the complicated strategy of making your team look good that they would lose sight of the simple joy of a rivalry and what it means to the fans.

Well, they can’t take the game away from us this Saturday. The stadium will be packed full of prideful people in red trying to humble the arrogant people in blue. The whole state will be watching. It’s supposed to be a perfect fall day. For a few hours, nothing else will matter. It will all be a matter of living in the moment.

That’s what good football is all about. It’s all good fun. Simple.

Just remember not to go overboard with your team pride because some things are more important that even this game. If you are a BYU fan, you’d better bring some red.

You might want to have some pizza.

Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at Eatonnews@gmail.com

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