Yes, being a Utah fan is hard right now. Our football program is struggling, fans are becoming less optimistic about the future and each game leaves us with more questions than answers.
It is difficult. It isn't fun. But now is not the time to turn back to our old selves and abandon the team at the height of its adversity.
That means, this Saturday, I want a sellout ... I want fans packed into Rice-Eccles Stadium ready to cheer on their team because, more than ever, they need the support. Yes, we can bicker whether they deserve the support ... but that's all irrelevant right now. Too much is on the line for this season, and potentially future seasons, to revert back to an old state that plagued Utah football for so many years - fans showing up when the times are good ... but disappearing when they're not.
To be sure, this program has grown ... not just on the field, but in the stands. It is amazing how much the fan support has been consistent and strong since the Urban Meyer era ended. There were questions, and concerns, that this could not last, that inevitably, fans would stop showing once things became hard. It didn't happen in 2005 or 2006 or 2007. It can't happen now. Because we've grown as a fan base these past ten years, I don't expect a half-empty stadium Saturday. I don't expect an 80% full stadium Saturday. I expect a capacity crowd cheering on this team to their first conference victory of the year.
It should help that Saturday is the blackout game and, whether you like it or not, most fans tend to love wearing black to football games. It helped create a buzz last year against Oregon State in a similar must-win and I think it will have the same impact this weekend. The addition of a night game, the fact night games typically have a more lively atmosphere, only adds to the potential for a strong and boisterous home crowd.
So, I get this season hasn't gone the way any of us would have liked. But now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to dig our heels in and loudly cheer on our team in hopes that, maybe, this weekend is the start of their run toward a bowl bid.
It can be done ... but only if we win this weekend. Gotta win this weekend. Gotta be loud this weekend. Gotta wear black this weekend. Gotta have fun this weekend.
As it is written, so shall it be done.