I don't see any need to rehash over the Utah State game. What's done is done and that's done. We move on and focus on the next opponent, who happens to also be another instate rival. Though the rivalry week is supposed to be the biggest and most important and dramatic week of the college football season ... this year it feels different. Of course it would. Utah has lost its starting quarterback to a career-ending injury ... our offensive line is toast and the defense is most likely going to be without Eric Rowe. Every bit of news that has leaked since the Utes' loss to the Aggies in Logan Friday night has added up to a gigantic crap sandwich.
The only positive is that Joe Kruger is expected to play, even though he was ejected from the USU game.
So, all this negativism has certainly dampened the Holy War spirit. It's not fun ... at least not nearly as fun as in years past.
Last year was fun, especially the game itself, but we had a good time leading up to it as well, since there was a feeling that Utah had a very good chance of winning. Now, though? They might win ... they could win ... but will they? I'm sure there are fans who believe without flinching that Utah will win. I wish I could be one of those fans. Not just because I want to believe in this team, but because sometimes I wish I could be more positive. I get gloomy. No doubt about it. I sat there watching the Aggies celebrate their victory and felt absolutely despondent. I invest a lot, I realized, and maybe get too emotional ... or at least too down. I need an even-keel. I don't have an even-keel.
But I want to believe. So, I believe. Maybe it's just telling myself I believe, whatever it is, I do. I do believe Utah can win Saturday. After all, this is the Holy War, where miracles do, in fact, happen. This is where 1988 happens and 2005 and Brandon Burton blocking a game-winning field goal happens. This is what rivalry is all about. They say throw out the records when two teams meet and it's absolutely true - especially for Utah & BYU.
There is no better example of this than the 2006 rivalry game. Utah entered with a mediocre record and BYU was on the cusp of ten-wins for the first time in a half-decade. They looked good. Scary good, in fact, and because of that, the Utes entered the game big-time underdogs. Had it not been a last-second catch in the back of the end zone by Jonny Harline, Utah pulls off an epic, unexpected victory.
In fact, the two seasons the Utes were written off, both in back-to-back years under Kyle Whittingham, Utah has either won ... or nearly won. The other game was in 2005 and the Utes somehow went down to Provo with an unproven quarterback who replaced the injured Brian Johnson and left victors of four-straight over the Cougars.
Saturday, with a win, Utah can claim their third-straight victory in this rivalry ... something BYU hasn't done since 1990, 1991 and 1992.
So, that uncertainly, that investment in the unknown, might overshadow the rivalry week. It won't be hated or relaxing as it was last season, and certainly BYU fans will enter the game confident they're not going going to win ... but maybe win big (something they haven't done since '96) ... but it can be just as good. That good feeling is built in the idea that under Kyle Whittingham, when it looked the bleakest of the bleak, this team managed to crawl out from beneath the rubble and produce a win that turned heads and recharged the fan base.
I hope that comes this weekend. I want it to come this weekend. I want the streak to live ... I want to beat BYU.
It is rivalry week.