Thoughts on the game with the BYU

Listen. I ain’t been around here in ages. And I’m a tl;dr machine. And I know it ain’t many people’s cup of tea. But here’s a bunch of words. And if you want to reply with a tl;dr, well feel free to have a big glass of shut the hell up right now.


The only thing better than that totally thrilling football contest is that I found this sweet 2018 NIT T Shirt at the Bookstore on Saturday and bought it for just $17. WHAT A STEAL!

I feel about Saturday night the way I felt that time I got both of my nostrils waxed at the same time - this is super unpleasant, but it doesn’t hurt as much as I think it should.

Maybe it’s because the better team won, plain and simple. So, like, what’s to hurt? The good guys got beat by a better team.

Or maybe it’s because Whittingham looks like Kirk Douglas now, and how can we expect Kirk Douglas to coach the good guys to a win?

Or maybe it’s because the rivalry in general has lost some juice, thank Bill Marcroft.

But I think the biggest reason is that, for the most part, losses just don’t hurt like they used to in the good old days. Back in the midst of MWC glory, every game felt like Utah had something to prove, this need to constantly justify how good the team was, or how worthy the program was. There was a desperation to it, this begging to be accepted and respected.

But after a decade at the big kids’ table, it just doesn’t feel like that anymore. Losses still suck, but none of them are tinged with desperation. They’re just losses. The FOMO is gone. The need for accolades is gone. Utah doesn’t have anything left to prove, or at least anything to prove in a game like the one on Saturday. The 2019 Championship game? The 2018 Championship game? Any loss to those mouth breathing hose monkies from ASU? Those ones hurt and they mean something.

But for some reason, Saturday didn’t hurt. Not really.

Maybe if, against the laws of heaven and nature and reason, if the BYU rises up and goes on a little streak against the good guys, maybe it’ll hurt more in the future, it’ll feel more desperate. But I doubt it. It’s a bit sad to me, not caring as much, but that’s all agua under la cabeza, as they say.

Four other thoughts:

First, I think we Utes sometimes forget the lesson of the cinematic wonder Ratatouille. It’s not that every team can be great, but a great team can come from anywhere. Our boys Saint Urban and Saint Kirk Douglas built this freaking thing from the Mountain West conference, the same conference with the logo that looks like a blind kid tried to draw Stonehenge. And we all know, WE KNOW, that 2004 and 2008 could’ve and should’ve played with anybody. So we gotta stop with the assumption that P5 means a damn thing in the micro, or that there’s some superiority to it in every game. It doesn’t, and there isn’t. In the macro, it means a zillion things. In the micro, sometimes it don’t mean jack shiznits.

Second, the Mighty Utes are what they are because they consistently beat teams with better recruiting rankings, with more “talent.” We should know better than most that the outcome of a football game is not taking the sum total of “talent” on two rosters and awarding the victory to the team with the bigger integer, or whatever, I didn’t go to Stanford so this is hard. My point is, I believe the coaches when they say this is a deep team. I believe the recruiting sites when they say recruiting has improved. I believe this means good things for the program. But “talent” means exactly zero Yankee dollars without experience and psychology and group dynamics and execution and ambition and all the other glorious stuff that makes college football the coolest thing on this planet other than Jack In The Box Tacos.

Third, I think I underestimated how much of a challenge the pandemic posed for the program. I know, all programs went through it and blah blah blah blah… But 2019 was a pinnacle year. It ended in the suckiest of ways, but it was a pinnacle year. And, of the dudes from that 2019 team that wore BYU’s asses like hats, how many of them played at the groin shriveller on Saturday? Five? Six? I think putting the actual experience of these human beings into context matters. 2020 was rougher on some programs than others. It kicked Utah’s ass up around our ears. That doesn’t necessarily excuse or explain away the loss, but I think it does add context.

And Fourth, I think we underestimated what a total buzzsaw that game was going to be on Saturday night. Winning makes teams and fans feel good, and even if it’s a fanbase full of men who had seriously delayed puberty and who think that ridiculous Sailor Hat Cougar is the coolest thing since Hello Kitty, the BYU has won lots of games lately and that program is feeling good. That matters. Add that to the Big 12 invite (which means much different things than those people realize right now), a dozen years of losses, a program that may have had the best outcomes in the whole country from the last 18 months of weirdness, a stadium of 63,000 zealots creating maybe their most hostile environment ever aimed at a team with like six dudes that had played a true road game in their life, a Utah team with little identity or culture yet, and the fact that BYU always has some dudes and has one of the highest built in floors of any team in college football, and the psychological advantages leaned so heavily toward the Mighty Cougars that the earth may have spun off its axis.

BYU was better. Utah decided to line up and go right at them and out talent them man-for-man, and they couldn’t. BYU won the trenches, and I think every other thing about the game is related to that.

So, great job Fist Rollers! Props to you!

But none of you have a 2018 NIT T Shirt.



What a return.


This is Gronkowski, Deion, Lemieux, MacArthur levels of return. We are blessed.


You sure you didn’t go to Stanford?


Was thinking just the opposite. LES was about as loud and nutty as any game I’ve ever seen. Student section was enormous. Still a top 5 rivalry IMO.

That’s because of what Senioritis said about needing validation. The BYU is still in that phase whereas we are not. It is still the main rivalry for them, but not for us.

Edited to add that for me personally, the claim of it being a top rivalry was important in the old days related to that validation that Senioritis speaks of. Frankly, I could care less about whether the rivalry with the BYU is considered big anymore. It is just not in the calculus when you are at the stage Utah is at (and where BYU may end up given enough years).


Damn, I forgot how much I missed these posts. So glad that they’re back. I doubt that I can disagree with anything that @Senioritis said.

Welcome back. Glad to see you once again.


Losing a game, but getting Senioritis back? ■■■■■■■ worth it.


Howdy Senioritis.

As noted above, in the coming years, BYU should start developing rivalries with the likes of West Virginia, Texas Tech, Houston, Cincy, etc. (as Utah has with Oregon, Washington, USC, ASU, etc.) and like us they’ll be more focused on games that can help get them a conference title game appearance.


I have a close and beloved relative who is about as died-in-the-wool BYU blue as anyone can imagine. (He and I don’t talk about the rivalry. We both know it’s pointless.) After the game I posted a congratulatory note to BYU on Facebook–a very gracious one if I do say so myself.

His response: “BYU is back. It’s the beginning of a new era.”

That’s how the true Cougar fans see last Saturday’s game. Just interesting to see their perspective.


I’m reminded of this from Arkansas, and TU’s saying that they’re back.

Arkansas Razorback Football on Twitter: “Not this time.” / Twitter

The claim may be true, but someone will steam roll the Cougs eventually.


They could be right. Some ute fan this morning tweeted that we don’t know yet if Saturday’s game was more of a 1988 blip or a 1993 start of something new.


Maybe they’re back like 2009 after beating OU and finished 2nd place MWC finish (11-2) and next will be 2010 (7-6) when they beat Washington but then lost their next 4 and to TCU and Utah who both left the next season (which byu lost to in 2011 as well as well as Texasa but ended 10-3). Who knows. BTW, had too look up all that on wikipedia.


Wait! What? Jack in the Box has tacos???


1978, Utah ended a 6 game losing streak against BYU. Next year they shut us out 27-zip. 1988 Utah ended a 9 game losing streak. Next season they hung 70 points on us. 1993 we won in Provo against Lavell for the first time on a looonnggg late field goal. Ended up winning by the same score next season (BOTH schools had damned good teams that season) and it was indeed the start of a new era at that time.

Remains to be what the future holds now. Unless we have another bowl matchup we’ll have to wait a few seasons.


Are you saying that a single win after a string of losses does not mean all that much? :wink:


Great job. I still believe that other than dropping in/or out of the polls and having to listen to the noise for the next two years, the game is meaningless. If we’re as good as we think we are, and win, all will be good and those games will have actual meaning. But….I’m still worried about the upcoming game against SDSU. My faith is a little shaky and I need a revivalism.


So what are the chances that Whittingham won’t be coaching in 2 years? He’s not getting any younger.

Pretty good chance that he’ll still be up at Utah. I suppose the better question is, does Scalley want to wait that long?


My bet would be he’ll be coaching in 2 years. He’s tough, he’s demanding, he has high expectations… but I observed a big, BIG difference between Whitt and Meyer, watching them closely.

Urban had his favorites, certainly got them motivated, but for those who weren’t “in”, he could be brutal. Before the '08 Sugar Bowl, some of the local radio guys interviewed Urban, and Kyle Gunther stammered and studdered through the interview. Afterward, his radio partner asked “what was that all about?”

Gunther: “People have no idea what I went through when Meyer was here”.

I do - I saw it. He was essentially bullied. Meyer wouldn’t look him in the eye, would just mutter “you better be good”, suggested he was a recruiting mistake, etc. Gunther went on to be All-MWC as a Center after Meyer left.

Off the field, Whitt treats everyone in the program with compassion & respect.

Example: He had a rule about the transfer portal: “Once you enter, you’re gone”. This year Jaylen Dixon is back, caught a pass on Saturday. Circumstances justified the exception.

Whitt is intense, but knows how to circle around and be circumspect. I think he still has a couple of steps on the ladder he wants to achieve. If we get to and win the Rose Bowl, I’ll bet he’d hop on the Harley and ride off into the sunset.