Ever since Utah joined the Pac-12 and BYU charted its own path through independence, we've heard buzz about the potential of the rivalry game between both schools dying down.
Well, it just might happen.
This was posted over at Utefans the other day and while it's not definitive proof the rivalry is about to go the way of the Dodo bird, it's a scenario that seems pretty plausible.
So, if we're about to see the last breaths of this rivalry game, are you okay with that?
I don't think I am.
I like playing BYU. I think these two teams have a unique rivalry and I would hate to see 90 years of history erased over night. I'm positive, even if the vocal opinion online suggests otherwise, that most in the state would hate to see this rivalry die.
This isn't a rivalry between two states or even two regions of a state. I guess it would be easier to let go if our fan bases didn't overlap quite like they do here in Utah. Salt Lake City is roughly only 40 miles from Provo and because of that, we're far more connected than say Michigan fans and Ohio State fans.
There is no imaginary border dividing our fans. Our rivals live in our neighborhoods, attend our churches and go to our schools.
I remember back in high school, when I attended Highland here in Salt Lake City, how big the rivalry really was because, as much as I hated it, there were Cougar fans in my classes. You made wagers, you talked smack and, that Monday after the game, you either gloated or sulked.
Those are special moments. I have a lifetime of good memories with this rivalry.
I talked about one of those memories last year.
But there are so many more.
Like when, in 2003, I received tickets to the Utah-BYU game down in Provo and decided against going because I wanted to watch the game with my dying grandmother in her hospital room. My grandma was a huge Utah fan and we often watched the rivalry games I couldn't attend in person.
That November, I knew she didn't have much longer to live. It was a painful reality because I had grown up living with my grandmother for a good portion of my life. She, along with my grandfather, influenced me more than anyone outside my parents.
So, the decision wasn't really difficult. I was adamant we'd watch that game together - and we did!
I remember how relaxed and happy Grandma was watching that game. When the Utes won, and claimed an outright conference title for the first time in fifty years, she beamed. It was nirvana. For a few hours, we forgot that this was probably going to be Gram's last Holy War.
The Tuesday after that game, she passed. But that memory has remained with me all these years and it never fails to make me smile.
I have so many good memories associated with the rivalry between these two teams that I would hate to let that feeling go because of spite or even hate.
Look, maybe we'll form new rivalries with new teams and the Holy War will become just another game on the schedule. But let it happen organically. If the rivalry is destined to die, let it die on its own - don't kill it. I think we would all be able to accept it more if it ended that way, through total apathy, then if, after this upcoming season, both schools decided to never schedule one another again.
But as someone who's grown up during the greatest era of this rivalry, where almost every game it seems is decided by a score or less, I say keep at it. This is unique. It's tradition. It's as part of our state's fabric as Jell-O, minivans and the Jazz.
Let's not abandon it.