Heightened awareness, very emotional, fired up, extra emphasis, anxiety, and pressure, are all phrases and terminology that have been used to describe the feelings of rivalry week. They don't quite have the right meaning, because they lack the background. To help with that, I've found some of the details that bring these phrases to life.
Here are some notes and quotes following Monday's practice:
-Bronco wasn't pleased with the teams' performance in practice on Monday, stating that they seemed bored and were sluggish. As far as injured players being healed up, he would have liked to have seen more out of them.
-Mike Hague, who has yet to play a snap this season will play against the U on Saturday.
-Bronco doesn't like the idea of having a bye week before the rivalry game, stating it has felt like a month since they've played any football.
-Kyle Van Noy clarified his "Super Bowl" comments saying it's the Super Bowl of the state of Utah, for the fans, and for the state in general. "I'm 0-3 against Utah, I want to be 1-3."
-J.D. Falslev grew up in Utah, and expressed that the game means a whole lot to him. He often gets reminded of how he reacted after the kick hit the up-rights last season against the U to make it the 3rd consecutive loss to Utah the last three seasons.
-Jamaal Williams, who had some back pain after the Texas game is good to go and is cleared to play. Jamaal Williams, Taysom Hill, and even Ross Apo won't face Utah the rest of their BYU careers due to the two year hiatus. This is the last hurrah for many players, if not the whole team, with the exceptions of freshmen and players on their missions.
-Hill stated that it means a lot to him to send the Seniors out with a victory, not only for them but for himself. Taysom Hill has yet to be the starter against Utah, this will be his only chance to shine against the U, unless there are unforeseen circumstances such as an injury which could possibly grant another year of eligibility due to an early season or off-season injury. I would never predict or wish that though.
-Bronco said the pressure by the fans and neighbors heightens ten-fold during rivalry week. He understands the importance of the game, and how personal it is by nature.
-Spencer Hadley was just suspended, taking a senior starting linebacker out of the lineup and putting pressure on his back-up to perform well (because people will be watching the position for mistakes).
-Kyle Whittingham is 5-3 in the Holy War against Bronco Mendenhall, winning the last 3 in a row.
-Utah has yet to lose to BYU since joining the Pac 12. In 2011, Utah's first year in the Pac 12, Utah crushed BYU 54-10, and then last year's game went down to the wire, with the U pulling out the narrow 24-21 victory.
-BYU is 2-2 at home in the game in the Bronco era, 1-3 on the road. Maybe there is such thing as a home field advantage in the rivalry game. J.D. Falslev thinks so stating that the fans showed very well against Texas, and thinks there is a home field advantage.
-BYU announced the scheduling of a home and home series against Utah for 2017-2018. The game in 2017 will be played September 9th, 2017 at Lavell Edwards Stadium, with the second game coming on November 24th, 2018 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
-After this game, BYU is next scheduled to play Utah in 2016 on September 10th at Rice-Eccles Stadium to pick up the rivalry where it left off.
-If that didn't crystallize some of the pressure and intensity of this all important game, then head onto Utah campus with a BYU shirt on to see what's going on there. That'll get your heart pumping.
-The game is set to be played this Saturday, September 21st at 10:15ET, 8:15MT on ESPN2 and KSL 1160AM, 102.7FM.
Let the countdown begin.