First off, yes: we were crushed. Utah played really well the second half, and BYU continued to play really poorly. At the same time, the rhetoric between Ute and Cougar fans continues to disappoint me much more than the loss did. It's always so black and white with these two teams. To have anyone try and say that BYU didn't shoot itself in the foot (or blow both its feet right off) in that game--that BYU's ineptitude didn't contribute to the lopsided score--is just silly. Yes, some of those turnovers were due to Utah. But a good portion were 100% us. At least let BYU take credit for its own stupidity and butterfingers, folks.
Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to get some other thoughts down on "paper." If you're not a football fan who happens to be Mormon, feel free to ignore this next bit.
Would a Ute fan be kind enough to explain to me (in polite, respectful terms) just why you're so 100% opposed to BYU sports at this point? I'm not looking for some long diatribe about how prideful BYU is, or how we're the holier than thou school. I've heard those arguments, and I don't feel like they hold water for me. I don't see BYU as being any more or less prideful than any sports team. When we were in the same conference, I could see how BYU would be really irritating. Much of the time, we were your biggest obstacle to conference success, just like you were our biggest obstacle.
We're not in the same conference anymore. Except when we play you, your sports world isn't affected one little bit by BYU's success or failure. I'd love to see Utah succeed in the Pac-Whatever-Number-It-Ends-Up-Being. Why? For the same reason I like seeing the Phillies win games, even though I'm a Yankees fan: I have a lot of friends who are Phillies fans. (Of course, I can't say the same for the Red Sox. Their success comes at expense of my team's potential. That's what division rivalries are all about. But if the Sox and Yankees were to no longer be in the same division? Sure. Go ahead and win. Whatever makes my friends happy. But maybe I'm strange like that.)
What it boils down to for me is one question:
If you're an active Latter-day Saint, how else would you prefer your church run school to behave in sports?
Bronco talks about how much he emphasizes that players should put other things in front of football on their priority list. When asked at the press conference this morning if he thought coaches came in earlier on Sunday to get a bigger start on prepping for the next game, he right off said he hoped none of his coaches were prepping for anything on Sunday--that that wasn't the right thing to be doing on Sunday.
That's the sort of thing that makes me really happy to be a BYU fan. Ideally, I'd like BYU to succeed because of the restrictions it places on itself as a church-run school--not in spite of them. Much like I try to succeed in life because of the choices I make as a Mormon, not in spite of those choices.
When BYU gets creamed in a game against its former arch rivals, am I happy? Not a whit. I was really bummed out. But it's a new week now, and I'm back to rooting for BYU just as much as I was rooting for BYU before that atrocity that called itself a game.*
Is there a large contingent of active Catholics who hate the living daylights out of Notre Dame? Maybe there is, and I just don't follow Notre Dame closely enough to care. But if you're an active Mormon, why the hate for BYU? You're paying the tuition with your tithing. That practically makes you a BYU booster at this point. Do you feel like a church run school should have a sports program at all? You do realize how every single BYU game, the church is mentioned--almost always in a positive light. What I mean, is I can certainly see how the church can view BYU sports as being an effective missionary tool.
Loathing of BYU fans--that I can understand. There are some who are really jerks, and who view BYU sports as God's team, and that's just ridiculous. They can be loud and boorish and ill-informed. Since I don't live in Utah, I don't have to put up with those fans anymore (unless I'm stupid enough to poke my nose into the cesspool that is cougarboard).
But there are idiotic fans of every persuasion--including Ute fans (a point which you'll concede . . . unless you're one of them).
So for me, it boils down to a simple question: should a church run school have a sports program? If that's okay, then (to me) that sports program should embody the principles of the church that sponsors it. In this case, no Sunday play. Encouraging players to go on church missions. Recruiting clean cut players who are willing and ready to follow the Honor Code.
I've heard some people say our players were playing really dirty on Saturday. I didn't see that. The commentators certainly didn't see that. If our players play dirty, I'd like to think that they'd be punished--just like any dirty players should be. I saw our defense play really strongly in the first half. Those were some hard hits, but no hits that looked intentionally vindictive.
Oh well. I'll let it drop now. I'd really be interested to see some well thought out essays by people I know and trust about the topic, from a Ute perspective. Ted? Care to comment?
I suppose in the end, I fail to understand the rhetoric because I'm just a strange sports fan. Such is life. Go cougars!
*(And Ute fans, your persistence in rubbing BYU's nose into that game baffles me. If we really don't matter to you anymore--as so many of you seem to like to claim--then don't revel in your victory to that degree. It's unbecoming. Sort of like if you spent all week talking about how you smeared Powderpuff U across the field. If we do matter, then . . . congrats. We took a lead pipe to both our knee caps, and you took a sledgehammer to what was left over. Now go beat some Pac-12/14/16 teams and establish Utah dominance.)