This has been a really crappy rivalry week. Maybe even the worst rivalry week ever. —Anonymous BYU fan on CougarBoard.com
As most in Utah know, the BYU-Utah rivalry is always a big event. The week leading up to the game can get downright nasty between the two sets of fans. This past week has been no exception. As usually happens during the week leading up to the game, fans of both teams have been talking smack to and about each other.
Some fans have friendly banter and keep it light. Others (on both sides) make it much more personal. However, the events that have transpired in the past pale in comparison to anything that has happened during this week.
Kick-off is still more than 24 hours away, so who knows what else might happen during that time?
On Utefans.net, an online comment board specifically for fans of the University of Utah, one of the main topics of conversation was the suspension of BYU's Spencer Hadley. One fan posted: “We must not forget that the zoobs live to a higher standard. In fact, it’s so high it’s a double!”
The topic was all over Cougarboard.com as well. One BYU fan wrote:
“This has been a really crappy rivalry week. Maybe even the worst rivalry week ever. First, Spencer Hadley’s suspension, then Baptismgate, and now new information about the nature of Hadley’s infractions and revelations that he was ratted out by a Ute fan and administrator . They didn’t rat him out because they are concerned about his eternal welfare; they simply did it to strike a blow to their hated rival just before the rivalry game.” This same fan continued, “This rivalry week has reached new heights of ugliness that I didn’t think were possible.”
With plenty of blame to go around, Utefans user ColoUte made a pretty good argument about who fans should hold responsible.
“Ok Cougar fans, since this is clearly difficult for you, let me tell you who you should be mad at in order 1. Hadley — no matter what you say, he should have known better. 2. The Snitch — no matter his motivation or affiliation, it was a weak, pathetic, teenage mean-girls move. I wonder if he at least had the good sense to try to blackmail him first.”
Another prevalent topic coming from both fan bases was whether the rivalry game should continue to be played in the future. Of course, both Utah and BYU fans couldn’t really agree on that argument either. Fans from both sides were calling for the rivalry to be stopped while others were calling for it to continue.
Both sides of the argument can be found from a thread on Cougarboard created by user Zaphod, who wrote:
“Toxic. The rivalry is toxic, not even fun anymore. It’s not fun or exciting. It’s sickening.”
In the same thread, user BigUte wrote: “I’m glad we are taking two years off and wouldn’t be too saddened to see the regularity of games decrease in the future.”
Also in the same thread was this post from utefan51: “Keep the Rivalery (sic). The games are awesome and I would hate for them to go away.”
One of the most interesting comments came from Utefan user The Thrill, who wrote:
“Let’s face the truth, it’s the religion that causes all the hate. Some of my best friends are LDS Utah fans. They root for Utah not because they hate their church, but because they like football and the closest school to them is Utah. Same thing for blue, there are many BYU fans who are fans simply because of their loyalties to their church. They see a group attacking their team, in any manner football or hate speech, and they feel threatened and fight back. They fight harder because it is their core beliefs that are being attacked. They in turn attack Utah, of course we take offense to it and fight back on and on until something comes to a head.”
Even after all of the things that went on this week — including some posts from fans on both sides of the rivalry that probably can’t be printed in this recap — some of the fans were actually ready to talk about the game.
Cougarboard user jkccoug brought up one of the more well-known bits of rivalry smack by saying: “Somewhere Lenny Gomes is smiling .”
Proud2BaUte wrote: “I don’t care about BYU’s honor code, Hadley, fake baptisms or BYU players going to bars. I care about a football game tomorrow night. I really do not know which team has the advantage. Both teams have strengths and weaknesses .”
Some BYU fans think the key to the game will be the run game, saying: “Utah didn’t do so hot against AZ last season. AZ’s QB couldn’t throw the ball, but AZ ran all over Utah."
Landon Walters is a history and political science major at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org