By Shain Gillet
Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. local time will be the last time the University of Utah and Brigham Young University football teams will meet on the football field for the Holy War for at least the next two years.
Months ago, we heard the two schools were negotiating a home-and-home series after the 2016 season, but not much as been heard of that on the news wire since.
However, fans can still cross their fingers that the rivalry will resume beyond the 2016 season.
This Saturday’s game will probably be the wildest game between the two schools to date. The Cougars, fresh off their 40-21 surprise victory over then-No. 15-ranked Texas, will play host to a Utes team that, after its first two games, looked ready to run over Oregon State last week.
Utah was beaten by a field goal in a high-scoring affair.
On Saturday, sophomores and juniors on both teams will likely be champing at the bit to get on the field. Even the third- and fourth-string personnel will want in on the action, knowing that the game could be the final Holy War in their college careers.
I’ve probably flip-flopped on the issue of the Holy War’s continuing a couple of times, and used other in-state college rivalries such as Alabama-Auburn and Oregon-Oregon State as prime examples of why this rivalry shouldn’t be put on hold for any amount of time.
But Utah’s football fans are different than, say, Texas or Alabama fans, who would rather poke both their eyes out with a hot fire iron than see a rivalry put on hold for any reason.
And that’s something that I still have to get accustomed to.
During a recent dinner with my in-laws, who both hold Master’s Degrees from Utah, my father-in-law said something that was a bit surprising to hear.
He was happy to see the game put on hiatus.
It was a head-scratcher for sure, but given his reasons, I couldn’t help but agree: It’s a little different being a football fan in Utah. The Beehive State is a basketball state first.
The past success of most of the universities, in combination with the Utah Jazz, shows it. Everything else is secondary.
Over the years that hasn’t changed much. The Jazz weren’t too successful last season, but Utah garnered a lot of attention when the Lone Peak boys’ basketball team made its run to a state championship and a national ranking last year.
The Holy War, won by Utah for the third straight year, wasn’t talked about much.
That doesn’t mean the game isn’t significant.
I implore every fan to go out and enjoy every facet of Saturday’s game. It’ll be the last time you’ll be able to talk about it until at least 2016.