As we all know, this Friday marks the 2013 installment of BYU vs. Utah State. Over the last few years, this rivalry has become much more exciting as the Aggies have continued to improve each year and come to play for this game. For those that have blocked it from their minds, the last time the game was played in Logan, the Cougars lost 31-16. This game can no longer be considered a cake walk and the Cougars must play their best game in order to come out with a win.
With this rivalry heating up, and the rivalry with Utah on probation for two years, the excitement of this game can take center stage for both fan bases. The last two weeks have shown how nasty and personal a rivalry can get. It does not need to be this way, and we're not the only ones that seem to think so.
I recently read a letter to the editor in the USU Statesman. It was written by a USU graduate and fan by the name of Justin Reeves and can be found here. As I read through the letter, I couldn't help but agree with him on many of his points. With exception to his opinion of USU being the premier team in the state, I found it a very well written and a thought provoking piece. His call for civility and sportsmanship is right on target.
BYU and Utah State have two very passionate and loud fan bases. The budding of a new rivalry should not detract from this, but should enhance it. I agree whole-heartedly with Justin that the rivalry will be better off without the fans bringing religion into the game. Religion does not make us cheer louder for our team and it does not make the spin on the ball any better. It is a game; it is a passion for many of us. We can be loud, we can get excited, and we can enjoy some teasing without making it personal or religious. This is one of the aspects that has destroyed the BYU-Utah rivalry and we don't want to have it happen to another one.
We have a chance to make this rivalry something special. As a fan base we can create this rivalry how we want it to be. I remember when I was a kid I knew one family that cheered for the Aggies. During the week of the game we had fun, we would plaster their yard with BYU signs, we would give them cookies in the shape of a Y. This family would do the same with Aggie symbols and signs. It was fun, it was creative, and it made the game something to look forward to each year. We can make this game more of a staple of our season each year. We can make the game something to anticipate, instead of looking forward to it with dread. Let's follow Justin's advice to his fellow Aggie fans "Keep it classy, beat them on the field.... beat them with your voices". We are Cougars; let's show it by supporting our team. Let's uplift our players through our voices and cheers, without bringing in religion or degrading the opponent. Let's create a rivalry that our children and our grandchildren can enjoy and participate in without worrying if our kids will be safe attending this wonderful event.