With one season of independence under its belt, BYU seems to have lost the allure of a rivalry matchup, a game fans and players alike look forward to each season.
Sure, the Cougars have Utah on their schedule, but without the stakes of a conference championship and a bowl berth in the offing, the Holy War has lost its luster. Not to mention the new deal between the Pac-12 and Big Ten is already threatening to eventually do away with the BYU-Utah rivalry anyway.
It’s not that there isn’t the potential for an exciting rivalry with the Utes, but without the meaningful implications that Utah and BYU fans have grown accustomed to over the years, the game just isn’t what it used to be.
What the Cougars need is a fresh rivalry, one that doesn’t have a long history—but can develop into one—and that can be built up in quick fashion.
Fans may want to hold on to the Holy War tradition and memories of games gone by, but seriously, the rivalry went kaput the moment the Utes bolted for the Pac-12.
Because the game is just another nonconference game for the Utes and a game that carries as much weight as any other on the Cougars’ regular-season schedule, the BYU-Utah rivalry is dead on arrival.
BYU needs to plant seeds for a new rivalry or two—or three—to blossom. Some may argue that without a conference affiliation, a rivalry is impossible.
Au contraire, mon ami!
Notre Dame—also an independent—has managed to keep not one, not two, but three rivalries intact over the years.
Notre Dame-USC, Notre Dame-Stanford, Notre Dame-Michigan. Each a rivalry game that keeps things interesting and draws big attendance and ratings.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top four potential long-term rivals for BYU.