Jay Drew, bless his heart, seems to be totally oblivious to the state of the Holy War and the impact it has on the local communities. Tonight on Powerhouse (KJZZ show, hosted by Alema Harrington) he actually said BYU fans would rather beat UCLA than Utah. Now I understand he's covering BYU for the Tribune and maybe doing so has corrupted his poor soul, but in what world in any galaxy would BYU fans want a win over UCLA instead of beating Utah? Hell, venture over to CougarBoard and read just how invested they are in this rivalry. They might not say they take it as serious as Utah fans, but it's evident and all you have to do is just read a few of their posts. They hate Utah. They hate Utah like we hate BYU.
Now I don't know why he believes BYU fans would rather beat UCLA than Utah. I mean, what victory last season really soaked up more emotion among the Cougar faithful? You can't tell me it was their win over the 6-6 Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl. No, they wanted to kick the ever loving $#!% out of Utah. Which always gets me, because BYU fans play this rivalry down like it's just another game. Now I could understand that mentality 20 years ago, when the Ute football program was terrible and the games were rarely competitive, since for the Cougars, it was nothing more than just another game on their schedule before their inevitable bowl showdown with a middle of the pack Big Ten team. But that isn't the way it is anymore. Utah has become a legitimate threat and proven it's not only capable of hanging with the Cougars, but beating them. Yet to listen to many Cougar fans, we look them as our bowl game and they look at us as nothing more than just another game on the schedule. Forget for a second that this will mark the second time in four years -- five Holy Wars -- where a BCS bowl bid is on the line for Utah and not BYU.
But what gets me the most is the fact Cougar fans fail to embrace the rivalry. As if they're better than it, when we all know they aren't. Their program hasn't been that much better than Utah over the last four seasons and the Utes have clearly had the better year. So why the Holier Than Thou attitude? I mean, I get they think they're a better program, a more successful program and have larger future prospects, but it isn't like having a rival at this level is bad. Rivalries are unique, but what is more unique is a rivalry between two great teams. It just does not happen much in college football. Sure, you've got Michigan and Ohio State, but do you think that game this weekend is going to get half the attention as it would if both teams entered ranked and with a major bowl on the line? What about Alabama and Auburn? The Iron Bowl is one of the most known and tradition rich rivalries in college football, yet many look at their upcoming game as nothing more than just a slight detour for Alabama on their way to the SEC Championship game against the Gators. The same thing could be said for USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, Washington-Washington State, Texas-Texas A&M and Florida-Florida State. None of these games will have as much national impact as Saturday's Holy War.
You see, what makes college football great are these rivalries. One game a year that can totally define a season. For BYU, they're fighting for a conference championship and bragging rights. For Utah, they're fighting for the BCS. It's all on the line and I can guarantee you that if you ask any BYU fan if they would forgo their victory over UCLA to end Utah's undefeated, BCS dreamin' season, they would take it in a heartbeat. What fool wouldn't? That's what makes rivalries so great. You can completely crush the dreams of your most despised enemy. I mean, Utah fans have been in the position BYU is in currently. Back in 2001, the Cougars were 10-0 and still fighting for a BCS berth. Utah came only a minute away from ending that dream down in Provo, but eventually lost 24-21. It was a horrible loss and up until the last two, probably the most painful for any Ute fan in recent history. Utah went on to finish the season 8-4, defeating USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. But I think I can speak for most fans when I say we'd rather have taken a loss to the Trojans in that bowl game if it meant the Utes ended the Cougars' BCS dreams. So don't try and tell me BYU fans would rather take their 59-0 victory against UCLA over beating Utah Saturday. They are just as invested in this rivalry as we are, they just haven't admitted it to themselves yet.
UPDATE: It appears Dick Harmon is pushing the 'Ute fans care more about the rivalry than BYU fans' meme. Pathetic.