By: Daniel Olsen
Image via The Leopard | November 21, 2018
Some people are saying the Holy War doesn’t matter this year. It’s more fun at the beginning of the year when both teams don’t have a blueprint of each other. That’s what they say. Well this is The Holy War. It’s rivalry week! BYU vs Utah matters! Red vs Blue matters! It doesn’t matter if both no longer are in the Mountain West. That’s old news. These are two FBS teams going at it. This isn’t the PAC-12 vs the Big Sky.
Here are three reasons why this game will be exciting:
1. The Thanksgiving Effect: Around Thanksgiving time there are usually three F words: Family, Food and Football. Hopefully you don’t use too many other F words with your in laws over the break. If there are some bad calls in the Holy War on Saturday then hopefully most fans can keep it G rated for the kids out there. It will be interesting whether Black Friday shopping or big Thanksgiving feasts have an affect on the players like they do on everyone else. Who will show up swinging and who will be sluggish? We will find out!
2. It’s always been a close game lately
It’s not guaranteed that the winner won’t blow the loser out of the water. That’s what makes games fun. We don’t know the outcome but the so called “experts” spend weeks trying to play “sports fortune teller” with predictions, projection and inside analysis. Many times the result isn’t what they expected. Nobody expected the Cougars to beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium or the Utes to win the PAC-12 South. That’s what makes the game fun. There is no guarantee the Cougars won’t live up to their double digit underdog status but that doesn’t mean true freshman Zach Wilson won’t go down without a fight.
3. The Streak Factor
The Utes have won 7 straight on the Cougars and are vying for number 8. Some people argue that’s not a rivalry but rivalries can get interesting once streaks are broken and the balance of power shifts. The Cougars had several long winning streaks over Utah State but recently the Aggies have shifted the balance of power in the rivalry with back to back wins.
In the Holy War there is no conference trophy to play for. They have no cute trophy like an Old Wagon Wheel to play for. It’s just for pride and family bragging rights. Everyone has one relative who won’t shut up about their team and this weekend there is hope that a loss will shut them up. The Utes already have their South division title and if the Rose Bowl meant as much as they say it does they would rest their starters on Saturday. But would that be fun? No! They are already down a starting quarterback and running back so what’s a couple more nicks and bruises?
It is time for the Holy War! I don’t know what the score will be. I have no crystal ball but since the Utes have “higher” things to play for I’m going to go out on a limb and for fun I say the final score will be………………….
BYU 34 Utah 31
Does that sound familiar? That’s because true rivals remember familiar scores! For all that is good and holy, there’s the Holy War! It’s rivalry week. In the words of Utah Jazz basketball star Donovan Mitchell “Let’s go!”