From the sidelines
Clipper Sports Editor
A few days ago on the sports news wire came a bit of good news for football fans of both BYU and the University of Utah.
The annual Holy War, which will be on a two-year “sabbatical” after this season, will continue in the 2016 season. The teams will meet at Utah in the comeback season.
That’s the part most people know about. The newest development to the story is the efforts of both schools to schedule one another in the two years after the continuation of the Holy War game.
The rivals are working diligently to schedule one other in 2018 and 2019 as well, with the latter year’s game happening closer to the end of the football season.
It’s all for the good of the common fan, of course. Even casual fans of football were scratching their heads about how such a rivalry could be put to rest for any period of time just so each team could schedule someone else.
When the story initially broke that the Cougars and Utes were going to place the series in hiatus mode, fans of all kinds came out of the woodwork to voice their opinions.
Mixed as they were, the overall message seemed to be that even though the series was taking a break, the fact that scheduling a “stronger opponent” in favor of the rivalry looked to be the overwhelmingly favored sentiment.
The dust likely wouldn’t have settled after this year’s game, as most fans assumed up to this point that the series’ ended after the two-game set.
As of the writing of this column, the only evidence to support the renewal of the rivalry was a YouTube video that was posted by Dr. Chris Hill of Utah. The video expressed that indeed the two schools are working hard at extending the rivalry games beyond the two comeback years and are awaiting PAC-12 approval before moving forward with any specific dates.
This is a good thing for football fans in Utah, casual or otherwise. Renewed talks by both sides also means that both schools have realized just how important this rivalry is to everyone in the state.
Getting away from the same conference was the first sign that the rivalry might disappear in the first place. Less than one year after the two schools parted with the Mountain West, it was announced that the rivalry was going away after this upcoming season.
For Utah, it meant a chance to put Michigan on its schedule, and what school outside of the Big 10 wouldn’t want that chance?
For others, it meant a betrayal. The rivalry had gone uninterrupted since the World War II years.
This rivalry had to be too important to the fans of both schools for both sides to part ways. Emails that came to me mentioned that seeing the two teams play each other, regardless of when it occurred, was a much better solution than just seeing the rivalry halted in its tracks.
Other’s agreed that the schools should take a break, citing unruly behavior both in and out of the stadium by fans.
It had become so unruly, in fact, that it could do the rivalry some good to take a break for longer than two seasons.
For now, the rivalry is guaranteed to run for two more, and possibly through 2019.
Beyond that is uncertainty, but it seems as if the two sides have come to an agreement that everyone will be happy with in the end.
Even Max Hall.