It’s rivalry week.
It still feels terribly strange saying that because we’re only in the second week of the season and we’re still enjoying the warm embrace of having football back in our lives. Now, just a few short days into this promising season, we have to play our longstanding rival and deal with all of the hullabaloo that goes along with it.
The most difficult realization for us BYU fans is that we haven’t beaten Utah since 2009 when Max Hall connected with Andrew George for a thrilling overtime victory. I remember it well because while running down the stadium stairs to rush the field I missed a step and landed flat on my backside. (P.S. is it bad that my tailbone still hurts to this day?)
My hind parts aside, it’s time that we full recognize the reason why BYU has lost all of these football games against Utah the last six years.
The curse of Max Hall is real.
If you need a refresher, after BYU’s victory over Utah in 2009 Max Hall had a few choice words for the University of Utah and their entire fan base.
In the moment, it was just another piece of fuel to the Holy War fire, but what we can see now is that his post-game firestorm resulted in a full-blown, Steve Bartman-style curse. Ever since that day, BYU has found just about every way possible to lose to Utah. There have been blowouts, blocked kicks, and most recently, a baffling bowl game in Vegas.
Having recognized the hex that one Max Hall has placed upon us, I have decided to do my due diligence and find a way to reverse the curse. This thing needs to end and I think I know exactly what needs to happen.
You see, the Curse of Max Hall exists because of his strong declaration of hate for the University of Utah, the players and their fans. It was hate that brought us here and I think it’s love that is going to bring us back to normalcy. That’s right, I’m going to do the unthinkable.
I’m here to declare my love for the University of Utah.
I know what you’re thinking. There is no way on that you, a BYU fan, can say that you love Utah! That’s not how love works! Well, let me tell you, there is a lot of love for the Utes in this heart and I’m not afraid to let it out.
First off, I love the attentive nature and devotion of Utah fans. They are some of the most observant and conscientious people I know. Of course I’m not referring to the passion they have for their own school, rather the endless hours they spend dedicating their lives to following BYU athletics. After every BYU game, my close friends who are Ute fans are able to speak at length about how poorly my team is playing based on the entire game they watched the previous week. I understand that they’re probably not watching BYU football because they enjoy it, but I sure do appreciate that they take the time to tune in and watch our boys in blue. I honestly wish I could do the same but I can’t seem to find the Pac-12 Network.
The watchful eye that Utah fans keep over all things BYU isn’t limited to live broadcasts. In the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of being followed by multiple Utah fans on Twitter. Now they get mobile alerts any time I tweet something like “1984” or “Honor Code” so they can jump right into the conversation. It’s great knowing that they are here to support me every step of the way.
Speaking of support and the honor code, I can’t say enough about how quickly Utah fans alert us of potential Honor Code violations by specific BYU players, students and fans that have graduated from the school well over a decade ago. A lot of BYU fans did attend the school and lived under the Honor Code, but no one has studied the ins and outs of it quite like the Utah fans. Not only do they inform us of the wrongdoings, they will go the extra mile to contact the Honor Code office to report a potential violation. What more could you ask for? I mean, “the world is our campus” and Utah fans live in that world, so it’s so kind of them to offer up their investigative services.
Did I mention how supportive Utah fans have been through the whole Big 12 expansion process? If it weren’t for Utah fans, I would be much less informed on the things that are allegedly happening at those Big 12 expansion meetings. Usually Utah fans only tell us the reasons why BYU won’t be invited to the Big 12, but it’s nice that they’re so invested in the process. Having one fan base with super secret insider sources was great, but adding another one to the mix has been extremely motivational.
Something that I also love about the University of Utah and their fans is how respectful they are to the BYU name. Ever since Urban Meyer (bless his heart) was the head coach at Utah, players and fans have decided to refer to BYU as “the team down south” or “TDS,” which I absolutely love. I understand that when talking about the rivalry things can get pretty heated. Instead of using an ugly or inappropriate tone to reference our beloved university, they reverence the name of Brigham Young and have decided to use an alternative way to acknowledge our school. So when I hear someone say “The TDS is garbage,” I know that they don’t really want to associate BYU with the word garbage, so out of respect they use a different acronym.
I’m sure there are a few Utah fans that say calling our school by a derogatory shorthand (such as TDS) makes others think less of BYU. Well, isn’t that just cute! I mean, to think that a fan would refuse to say a name of someone or something they don’t like is like a spurned ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who demands that all of their friends never mention the name, hair color or favorite food of their former lover. I understand that a brief mention of the color blue or the name Jimmer stirs up some pretty powerful emotions. It really moves you and I think that’s just precious.
Lastly, I love how generous Utah fans are with their alcoholic beverages. Every time I go to Rice-Eccles Stadium, the fans are pretty much lining up to let me have a taste. Now, usually they get so excited that they end up spilling their beer all over my pants, but I know their heart is in the right place. They just want to give of their substance. On second thought, those big-hearted Utes probably realized that drinking alcohol is against the Honor Code, so they do their best to accidentally spill it to ensure there is no chance that a BYU fan will take a sip and go to Honor Code jail.
I could go on for days, but I don’t want to get too gushy. I tend to do that when talking about my favorite people.
At any rate, I hope this confession of love will break the Max Hall Curse and we can go back to our winning ways. In the event that my love confession wasn’t enough, feel free to share a few reasons why you love Utah in the comments section.