Poor BYU fans. They had a bad day. You see, because Utah has decided its program isn't entirely beholden to theirs down in Provo, the Utes announced the rivalry series between both schools will have to take a hiatus. You'd think, with the media frenzy we've seen since the announcement yesterday afternoon, namely 1280 suggesting Utah is now not a Pac-12 team because, uh, they don't want to schedule the Cougars annually, Chris Hill & Kyle Whittingham desecrated the remains of Brigham Young himself.
There has been a lot of whining over Utah deciding they'd rather play Michigan in 2014 and 2015 instead of BYU and it's remarkable considering, not that long ago, BYU and their fans didn't much care for this rivalry. In fact, it was only four years ago when Dick Harmon penned this article on the rivalry. Kind of funny in retrospect, right?
Now, though, it's BYU clamoring to keep the rivalry alive, investing as much emotion in it as I've ever seen and acting like the Utes somehow did something sacrilegious by, gasp, putting their own program ahead of the rivalry. How dare they?
Look, had Utah & BYU not shared the same conference in the 70s and 80s, does anyone think this rivalry would've continued, uninterrupted, for decades after? No. If the Cougars had ever bolted for the Big 12 or decided to opt for independence on their own, which was an idea floated about many years ago, I have a hard time believing BYU would somehow be sympathetic to Utah's plight.
Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Utes, who have won seven of the last ten games in this rivalry, have the upper hand in its scheduling. It's now going to be on our terms. No one is forcing Utah to schedule the Cougars. They don't have to and, if you've read message boards or twitter yesterday, a great deal of fans don't care if we ever play the rivalry game again. I'm not one of 'em. I'm glad it's continuing. But I also think taking a hiatus from it is a good thing and certainly not the major issue many here locally are making it.
Utah isn't signaling they've outgrown BYU. We just, you know, want our own room. They're still our brother, but we've been sharing a room for so long that dammit, it's time we actually get out into the real world. Don't worry, though, we'll be back for holidays and maybe occasionally on the weekends.
Relax, though. We just need some space. It's nothing personal.
Okay, maybe it is just a bit personal. But certainly not nearly the level of awful as the media would lead you to believe.