This article, written by an east coaster, already makes me nostalgic. Utah wasn’t there for all the history, but what a great ride it has been.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I simply can’t get excited about the Big XII.
I think it really comes down to the fact that I have absolutely zero connection to any of those places. Ask me what I know about Stillwater or Lubbock or Ames or Orlando or Cincinnati and I can only give you a completely blank stare. These are all places that have literally never even crossed my mind. I’ve never given a moment’s thought about any of them. Ever.
P12 schools (and MWC schools before that) on the other hand, I have been around my entire life. We vacationed in Seattle and SoCal as a kid. I watched the Rose Bowls with my dad every single year, no matter who was playing, and literally broke into tears when I finally got the chance to walk in there for the first time after he passed. I drove up from Pueblo to Boulder to go games at Folsom Field because I was dating a girl there at the time. Mrs. SkinyUte and I spent our 20th anniversary in San Francisco. I’ve been the sole Utah fan in a Tempe sports bar during a business trip. I spent one Spring Break in college crashing with a friend at the USC dorms. While I may not have gone to an actual game, I have spent time in these cities or regions. I know people that live in these places. I feel a connection to them.
Big 12 schools? Nothing. Zip. Nada. It’s not even that I don’t like them, I’m just completely ambivalent. I’m sure some rivalries will form, but there’s simply nothing that excites or connects me to this conference. It’s simply a business arrangement to play football games.
Been close to Stillwater. Been to Morgantown, DFW Metroplex, and Cincinnati. Though I will concede some cultural similarities, I really don’t see us building any sort of competitive connections to any of those schools. The only schools on our future schedules we will see any juice for will be CU, BYU, ASU, and UA. The rest will feel like an OOC schedule similar to what the Beavs and the Cougs will be playing next season. Something tells me the fan bases of the West Coast Defection Squad will be feeling something similar. Though I see Oregon and Washington being competitive in the B1G, U$C and the bRuins will be afterthought teams. Cal and ‘Furd will be “Hawaii” in the ACC.
To quote Sir Alec Guinness in “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” I believe these AD’s and College Presidents will be saying this sooner then later regarding these changes…
“What have I done?”
This statement perfectly sums things up. The thing that made collegiate athletics so great is being destroyed by greed. The thing that fans love is being ripped away from them. And to those that are making it happen: I hope it all comes back to bite them in the @ss.
There are many, many schools and conferences throughout the college football landscape.
One can find the golden age you describe, if one digs deeper and removes one’s Ute goggles.
I worry that football recruitimg, fan interest and donations will take a hit. Utah will need to reinvent itself a little bit. Hopefully the college football playoff will help.
Of course there are. That’s not the point.
The point is that many (most?) of us have spent our entire lives forming bonds and having experiences in the west with these schools and regions that we’ve grown up with.
Of course you can always meet new people or visit new places, but it’s quite impossible to simply replicate decades of memories and connections and feelings on a dime.
I suppose my point is that you could start following schools from those memory locations. That is what I have done throughout my fan journey. I add schools to my watchlist as I form memories of friends, adventures, loves, etc.
Yep it absolutely will if we’re not able to move on from the Big12 within 2-3 years. The landscape is shifting and if Big12 ends up as anything more than a temporary parking spot for Utah, we’re toast. It sucks, but it’s reality.
I certainly know what you mean, but would it hurt your fandom, i.e., would you stop watching, if Utah were not at the top level of the sport?
a couple of things I believe that hurt the new Big XII:
- 16 teams is too big, it will be difficult to build rivalries or familiarity with the league
- there are no Goliath(s) in the Big XII
- with the ACC TV deal going till 2030 something, this conference has no media leverage in the next iteration
Nope I’m speaking of the financial aspect for this institution, and everything that entails.
Of course I’ll still follow and cheer for the Utes even if they’re in a horrible misfit of a conference- I’m sure any fan will tell you the same.
It will still be fun. All this business talk y’all put out makes my eyes glaze over, but I suppose someone has to fret about it.
The institution does not need athletics to be a viable education and research facility.
Yeah on the 16 teams thing, it’s just like the expanded WAC. In fact this conf will be very similar to that in many ways.
I personally think the ACC will dissolve within a couple years - and the crazy media deal will be its demise. No way are FSU and Clemson staying put with everything that’s happening around them.
Many fans that I interacted with on UH.c told me they would stop watching the team if we were in any situation other than a P5.
My definition of a fan may be different than yours.
Right. At this point there is no team that is easy to hate, ala Southern Cal or Texas. There’s not even an Oregon. If the most despicable team is byu-provo, it feels like being back in the Mountain West, from the heated rivalries perspective.
This may be true. I assume that anyone taking the time to post on a fan board consistently is a fan.
Along these lines… I think even the most hardcore Utah fan would agree: a conference where Utah is the marquee name is not the ideal conference for us to be in. For numerous reasons.