Traditionally, it's not hard to gauge which way people at Utah and BYU are leaning as the annual football game nears. Just follow the old real-estate adage: location, location, location.
Those at BYU nearly always pick BYU, those at Utah pick Utah.
But this apparently isn't a traditional year. Yes, more students in Provo are picking the Cougars than not, but it's not unanimous. In fact, in this year's annual Rock Report, there is at least one shocking revelation: Despite a conference championship already in hand, there is uncertainty lurking among BYU fans.
Of five women polled at BYU, all chose the Cougars. No surprise there. But of five men, three took the Utes.
What in the name of Gary Crowton is going on?
"I really, REALLY want to say BYU," said Ryan, a senior majoring in economics, "but I don't think it's going to happen.
"I'm going to cheer the loudest for BYU, but in the deepest corners of my heart, I think Utah has a little more passion.
"But," he concluded, "we'll kill 'em in each of the next two years."
And with that he gave the Utes a two-point edge.
So the word is out. Coach Bronco Mendenhall's even-keel approach makes some people nervous.
"I've seen them choke a couple of times," said Kalle, a BYU student from Germany.
OK, so he saw the Tulsa and UCLA games. But wasn't choking Utah's problem, too?
"Yes," said Kalle, "but the Utes have the hatred."
He predicted a three-point Utah win.
"By the way," he added, "tell your readers I don't understand why they call it football. They kick twice a game and call it football."
Good point. Maybe we should call it "big crashball."
Considering the closeness of the match-up, it was indeed surprising that a full 60 percent of BYU men in this year's Rock Report chose the Utes. By comparison, just one of 10 students on the Utah campus took the Cougars. The sole dissenter was Keven, a non-student, who went one semester to BYU before enrolling in firefighting school.
Hmmm. He puts out fires for a living.
So he's a coach, right?
Whenever a poll such as the Rock Report is afoot, there are always a few variables. For example, there was Ryan this one a freshman whom the Rock Report found walking into the library at BYU wearing a bright red sweatshirt that said, "Utah Utes Football."
It was pretty easy to guess his pick.
"I've been a Utah fan all my life," he said. "My loyalty runs too deep to change simply by going to a different school."
In spite of a few dissenters on the BYU campus, the poll showed there were also a number of loyalists. Brittney, a sophomore biology composite teaching major, picked the Cougars to win "by a kick what is it? a field goal."
Or simply a goal, depending on which type of football you're discussing.
Then there was Naomi, of San Antonio, who was on the BYU campus for a visit. She picked the Cougars by three touchdowns.
"I'm applying (to go to school) here, so. ... "
At least two students on the U. campus tabbed the Utes to win, 34-31. Though that score hasn't occurred since 1994, it's never too late to resurrect an old theme.
"I hate 'em," said Adrienne, a senior majoring in biochemistry.
Kristen, a junior at Utah, was wearing a red T-shirt that said, "Fully Intoxicated" a play on the "Fully Invested" theme fans in Provo are wearing this year.
She had the Utes winning by a pair of field goals, which proved two things. First, she actually wasn't intoxicated, or she would have picked the Utes by 50. And second, she has confidence in Utah's kicker.
"I love Louie Sakoda," she said.
All totaled, this year's Rock Report showed that 60 percent of those on the two campuses think Utah will win this year's game.
Are BYU fans confident? Are they really as invested as they say?
Sure they are.Except maybe in the deepest corners of their hearts.
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