uteowl's Blog
I've watched with intense interest the roller coaster ride in college athletics last week as the Pac 10 courted the Texas and Oklahoma schools from the Big XII. In the end it finished up where it all started - Colorado and Utah as the expansion teams for the Pac giving them twelve members thereby qualifying under NCAA rules for a conference championship game. For years I had thought that if the Pac 10 ever expanded it would have to take Utah and BYU in tandem to keep their tradition of pairs of rivals. After all what is Utah without BYU or vice verse. I remember growing up in Pennsylvania when there was no Big East, all the schools were independents and the biggest game of the year was Penn State v Pitt. That rivalry was torn asunder when Penn State joined the Big Ten and Thanksgiving weekend was never the same - until I attended the University of Utah and experienced the love/hate relationship between Utah and the school a later coach would redub The school Down South (TDS). Ahhhh. November seemed right again. I had a new school to hate. Although calling each other "Little Brother" didn't carry the same venom as the ever pithy, "**** on Pitt!" I had grown up with in Pennsylvania. It was fun to hate the Y - especially as a non-conformist member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every Sunday it was BYU this and BYU that - and unfortunately for the good part of two decades I had to suffer in silence during football season. Basketball was another story and March Madness usually presented me with a reason to wear my Uteness on my sleeve. That started to change in the 1990's with good ole coach Mac. I started seeing more and more disappointment in the faces of the "Y" people at the end of November. It felt good, and quite frankly, I didn't think it would ever get any better. I scratched my head along with many Ute faithful when Dr. Hill gave Mac the axe and brought in this new comer with the weird name - Urban Myer. It didn't take long to become a believer in Meyer and his jingoisms. I loved it when he introduced the ultimate insult to BYU by refusing to mention them by name, simply as the TDS (Team Down South). Two years later I blew the dust off my "**** on Pitt" memories when it was announced that Utah would face a lack luster Pitt team in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. Then we fulfilled the saying by dumping on them in that game. It was sweet, only soured by the broken promise of Meyer that he would only depart for Notre Dame. I had always thought that the Irish resided in South Bend, Indiana not Gainesville, Floriada. Oh well, it has worked out and we were able to keep continuity by retaining Coach Whit. It was a bit rocky those first few years as Whit got his feet under him. Sure we were winning more than we lost, but we had seen the promised land and wanted to get back there. The only way that was going to happen was beating BYU and going undefeated again. Then 2008 happened. We were back in the BCS and this time against the storied 'Bama Crimson Tide. "Never stand a chance." "'Bama's gonna clean Utah's clock." Uh huh. 21-0 Utah, first quarter; and we never looked back. We lost a lot of good players after that year and had to restock and rebuild. But the groundwork had been laid. People across the country knew Utah as the "Original BCS buster" and "the best of the mid-major programs." My church friends were not amused. As Utah's success and reputation increased, so did the vitriol. Unfortunately it's come from both sides. Immature Utah fans with the desire to rub the TDS folks' nose in our relatively new found success and TDS fans with visions of their sports empire loosing the luster it had held for almost thirty years. The ultimate insult came this year as talk of Pac 10 expansion took a new life with real legs. As I stated early on in this essay, I have always viewed BYU (TDS) and Utah as a package with a rivalry as hot as any in the country. Easily more intense than anything the Pac 10 had. Who would want to break that up? Evidently the presidents of the Pac 10 schools did, since they could not fathom with all their open mindedness, the thought of a school with very strong religious underpinnings fitting into their conference of liberal thought. So as the Pac 10 seriously explored expansion the Yners found themselves on the outside looking in as they weeped, wailed, and gnashed their teeth in jealousy as their "Little Brother" was mentioned time and time again ending up with last week's invitation to join the Pac. It will be interesting to see what happens with the rivalry that has existed for over 100 years.I know that TDS fans will have more reason to want to beat the Utes - the question that remains for Utah once they are full members of the new Pac is what will it mean to beat BYU? Are bragging rights in the state of Utah enough? Whenever these two schools play it is going to be a hard fought battle and given the increased level of competition with the new conference will Utah want to have another tough out of conference game. I, for one, would like to see it. It would only cement Utah's reputation of being willing to play anyone, anywhere and give more impetus to the argument when Utah does win the Pac that they deserve a shot at the national title and didn't pad their schedule with patsy teams and win by playing football light teams like a certain TDS did in 1984
July 7, 2010  02:04 PM ET

I appreciate your thoughts, but it's kind of painful to read without paragraphs.


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