The Holy War has been a hot topic in the state of Utah since the University of Utah and BYU both announced their intentions to leave the Mountain West Conference back in 2010 for greener pastures.
Since, the two fan bases have been bickering back and forth –what else is new- about how the rivalry game should be handled going forward.
Patrick Kinahan, a local radio host here in Salt Lake who is sometimes notorious for stirring the pot between the two fan bases had an interesting piece on KSL.com about his take on the rivalry. Kinahan suggests that the time has come for the rivalry game to die.
A world with no BYU vs. Utah, is a weird world to picture. But the picture will start to come into focus starting in 2014 where Utah Athletic Director, Chris Hill set the precedent to let this historic rivalry go by the wayside for two seasons to play Fresno State.
BYU and Utah will face each other this season in Provo and then again in 2016 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. After that, there is nothing.
So what happens after 2016? Will the two ever schedule again? As Kinahan mentioned in his piece, BYU Athletic Director, Tom Holmoe has commitments now too. When Independence started, BYU was open to anything. If Utah was all-in with the rivalry BYU could have slotted Utah as a permanent fixture for the Week three of every season and worked around that.
Does BYU need Utah? No. But the state of Utah needs a BYU-Utah rivalry. Regardless of what some Utah Jazz fans would say, BYU vs. Utah Football was the biggest sporting event this state had on an annual basis. Local offices and employers don’t plan activities for a week leading up to BYU vs. Notre Dame or Utah vs. Colorado. This was the state’s ticket to a big, primetime, sporting event each year and that was sacrificed to go out to the Valley and face Fresno State.
Let us not forget the BYU vs. Utah Basketball rivalry game. Nothing has been scheduled for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. The two played a home-and-home the past two seasons in the month of December.
People forget that the basketball rivalry used to be bigger in this state than the football game when Utah was a perennial WAC cellar dweller each and every year on the gridiron. What’s the excuse for no hoops game? Holmoe has more than enough shown a desire to keep this rivalry going in all sports but he’s tired of waiting around on Utah.
So what is going to happen with this historic rivalry? All I can say is that there isn’t another game for either school that creates more passion amongst the fan bases than this game. No other game will provide mass amounts of smack-talking t-shirts, endless amounts of locker room material, and memories that fans will take with them to the day they die like the Holy War will.
Go all in on this rivalry or it will just become the next Pitt-Penn State, Texas-Texas A&M, or Miami-Florida and be gone forever. That is something both fan bases can agree on.