-Charlie Brown.Believe it or not, the greatest victory won by Utah County sports fans this year was not the Brigham Young University win over the University of Miami or BYU's come-from-behind wins over San Diego State or Washington State.

Instead, probably the greatest victory was the University of Oregon's 32-16 drubbing of the Cougars. Why? Because local sports fans need to realize that life in these United States does not depend solely on athletic endeavors.

Life in Happy Valley has returned to normal now. No longer do businesses feature large "Good luck, Cougars" signs, or even worse, "Pluck the Ducks" banners.

Is that a good thing? You (and I) might get quite an argument, but yes, it is. There's a serious crisis going on in the Middle East. There's a serious budget crunch still unresolved by stagnant national leaders. There's a serious problem with the homeless in the freest country in the world.

I'm sorry, but life does not revolve around BYU's struggle to be football's national champs. Maybe we can all start concentrating on real life again.

Also, Cougar fans should learn how supporters of the other major college football teams in the state feel. Not only have these schools never won a national championship in football, they'll probably struggle to have winning seasons as well.

Imagine helpless (and hopeless) Utah State University Aggie fans like this writer, who persist in their dreams of a winning season for their alma mater. Promises of "this will be our best team yet" from football's version of Pat Buttram - Aggie head coach Chuck Shelton - somehow ring with truth in our minds, only to be crushed by the cruel realities of such things as brutal scheduling.

Imagine University of Utah, Weber State College and Southern Utah State College fans, whose teams are struggling to make a reputation for themselves or are in the process of rebuilding.

Instead, Cougar fans have been spoiled by ultra-talented and superbly coached teams that usually waltz their way past competition locally and in the Western Athletic Conference. The real fun for non-Cougar fans begins when those Cougar teams sometimes struggle against non-conference competition that is bigger and more talented.

For instance, when the aforementioned (and not oftmentioned in this valley) defeat by the Ducks occurred, some (not all, or even most, I think) Cougar fans indulged in the imbibing of some sour grapes whine (pardon the pun).

Tacky calls of "I hate Oregon" and "We're so much better team than they are" accompanied prevailing stories published by the media, which should have known better than to run them in the first place.

Excuses of "Well, Ty's hand was hurt" and second-guessing of coaching strategies also were fashionable in some areas, and, frankly, we should be above all this.

Some of these folks should try being this writer. Not only are his Aggies not doing so well, but his beloved Boston Red Sox are currently trailing the Oakland A's in baseball's American League Championship Series. Though I've been known to throw out a taunt or two, or blow my fuse at sporting events, I won't make excuses for the Sox or even call the A's "classless steroid-gobbling goons" (except this once).

I'll instead acknowledge the A's athletic superiority, should they continue on, but still love my Sox (and my Aggies) for their guts - for just making the effort each game to get out on the field and play their hearts out. That to me is a successful season.

Besides, the Cougars could still salvage a top-five finish and make a bowl game. Isn't that enough to love a team for?

Now if we could just do something about these Utah Jazz fans . . .