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Vanquish the Foe Staff Holy War Predictions

We give our mostly serious predictions of what we think will go down in Thursday’s game

BYU v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Utah has won eight straight in the series, but that will never stop hope that BYU will end the streak soon (hopefully tomorrow!). Our staff uses their brain and heart to give their best guess of what will go down tomorrow.

Robby McCombs: BYU will be improved this season. I’m counting on Zach Wilson to take the next step, the running back room is more talented and deeper, and you can always count on a Kalani-led defense to be solid. Utah should be better too, though. They have some questions at offensive line and linebacker, but their defensive line dominant and their secondary should be great. RB Zach Moss is a stud and QB Tyler Huntley can be really good when the run game is going. BYU will be able to compete, but I think Utah is just too talented and will wear BYU out in the fourth quarter.

Score Prediction: Utah 27, BYU 23

Steve Pierce: Football will be played. Grown men will run very fast and recklessly slam their bodies into one another at unsafe speeds. People will be hurt. Bodies will be mangled. Some may never be the same. A throng of crazed onlookers will rapturously take in this tragic scene, urging forward the humans who happen to be wearing the right color shirt while spewing a barrage of unspeakable invective at those who are not. Following the contest, many of those spectators will continue the barbarism away from the stadium’s bright lights—not by putting their fists to one another’s faces, but by putting their fingers to their keyboards. Much trash will be talked. Many opponents will be metaphorically dunked on. And yet, at the end of it all—when all involved head home and sit by themselves in the dark, contemplating their existence—no one will be any happier or more satisfied than they were before that strangely misshapen leather ball was booted into the Provo night sky.

Score Prediction: Everybody loses

Mary Blanchard: I’m banking on Utah crumbling at the hands of all the hype. And when I say banking on, I mean praying that they do. Tyler Huntley and Zach Moss definitely scare me, but if Zach Wilson picks up where he left off in the bowl game, then Utah fans should be scared, too. Bottom line is that this is a rivalry game and anything goes. The only real prediction that I have is that this game will be bonkers, as per usual. Maybe the home field advantage will help us out?

Score Prediction: BYU 21, Utah 20

Keith Shirts: The longer the losing streak becomes the more difficult winning this game becomes. The only prediction that I’m absolutely confident in is that BYU is going to face some deal of adversity at some point in the game. A late game loss of the lead, a pick 6 to start the game, fumble in the end zone, missed/blocked kick, a penalty negating a Cougar touchdown — something is going to bring a “here we go again” vibe into LaVell Edwards Stadium. That is going to happen. Fans won’t be able to help it. The coaches and players are going to feel it. It is going to be unusual, miasmic, and unsettling. There won’t be an easy solve for this dread although efforts will be made.

The Power of the Wasatch will try to help with a rendition of “Pretty Fly For A White Guy.”

The Cougarettes and Cheer Squad will try to force in some pep by smiling through it.

The PA Announcer will give whole-hearted voice to “that’s another Cougar...” and the crowd will give a half-hearted “First Down.”

Unfortunately, faking it until you make it won’t work on Thursday night.

The only thing that will work will be Kalani Sitake preparing his guys for this phenomena and an entire team on the field in blue and white displaying oblivious emotional strength and clutch detailed play.

BYU has needed this trait to get by Utah and haven’t had it.

Beating #14 Utah is hard enough. Beating #14 Utah and the streak stigma is going to take something special. Asking an inexperienced and unproven group in their first test of the season to give this kind of exceptional performance is probably too much. Here’s to hoping it isn’t.

Score prediction: Utah 16, BYU 10 — I really, really hope I’m wrong.

Phil Hiatt: Before I begin, I feel the need to let everyone know that I will be attending this game in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The last Holy War I watched personally....2011. It goes without saying I need BYU to win this game so I don’t feel like I’m becoming a curse. With that said, I have never felt so extremely, cautiously optimistic (excuse the juxtaposition). The last time we saw BYU play a football game, our quarterback was P-E-R-F-E-C-T, the offense scored 49 points, and it was also my wedding day. (I tell you the truth when I say my wife and I discussed doing a vow-renewal ceremony on Thursday to try and get the same result.) I want so badly for this BYU team to be good, and I believe they will be. But, every time I think they’re going to beat Utah, I get a nagging feeling in my head that it’s not going to happen. It will be close, and the entire game could easily come down to just one play. Which team is going to make that play? I want it to be the Cougars, so that’s what I’m going to say.
Score Prediction: BYU 31 - Utah 24

Jake Welch: You never know what is going to happen in a Holy War game and I’m pretty sure this score combination has never happened so sure let’s go with this. Let’s get weird.

Score Prediction: BYU 4, Utah 3

Chase Troutner: I have some bold predictions for this year’s Holy War.

  1. BYU will not throw a Pick-6.
  2. Utah will throw one.
  3. BYU will score more points than Utah.
  4. Cosmo will unmask Swoop live on ESPN, just like Rey Mysterio, Jr. in 1999 at SuperBrawl IX.
  5. The Utah marching band will forget how to play their fight song, hastily replacing it with “Baby Got Back.”
  6. BYU will try to sneak Taysom Hill onto the field to score the winning TD, which will fail miserably when his muscles can’t be contained in Danny Jones’s jersey.
  7. A good time will be had by all.

Score Prediction: BYU 34, Utah 31

TOTAL COUNT: BYU 4, Utah 2, everybody loses 1