Conference Opener to Holy War Rivalry: What Utah Has to Prove vs. BYU

Zach HardingContributor ISeptember 15, 2011

Conference Opener to Holy War Rivalry: What Utah Has to Prove vs. BYU

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    Following the Utes' conference opener at USC and its dramatic finish, with USC getting the final bounce its way, Kyle Whittingham and his Utah team head into Rivalry Week for the Holy War game this Saturday at BYU.

    Talk about going from one extremely hyped-up game to another, although some say it's just not the same and that there's not as much hype surrounding the Rivalry Game early in the season this year as there would be if it were still placed as the last game of the season.

    Still, IT'S UTAH VS. BYU for crying out loud!!! It doesn't matter when the game is played! It will always be a rivalry, and there will always be the in-state tension and excitement leading up to the game and for the game, whether it's played as Game 12, Game 1 or Game 3, as it is this year.

    Sure, there's no conference championship on the line as the teams are not in the same conference, and in fact, BYU doesn't even have a conference as an Independent this year.

    BUT, this game still means a lot, and both teams and fans have a lot to be hyped up about concerning this game. Follow the slides and hear multiple reasons why each side of the Holy War should be rooting their teams on more than ever...

UTAH: Prove They Were the Pac-12's Right Choice

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    Utah should be wanting this win just as much as usual to show that they were the right choice out of Utah and BYU to be added to the Pac-12. Because, say BYU wins this Saturday, and Utah is able to go on to win the Pac-12 South Division. What will BYU fans being saying to Utah fans after that? "Well, we beat you, so I guess could have won the Pac-12 South Division too. Big deal."

    Utah and its fans don't want to hear this.

BYU: Prove That, as an Independent, They Are Not the New Little Brother

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    Now that Utah is in the Pac-12, and BYU is an Independent with no conference affiliation, BYU fans might start or have already started hearing the smack talk from Ute fans that BYU is now the little brother in the state because of the conference-affiliation changes.

    BYU should want this game more than ever to show that they are not the new younger brother and to have the bragging rights for the next year that they beat the Pac-12 Utah team and that they belong in that conference just as much as Utah.

UTAH: Bounce Back After Close USC Loss

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    The phrase goes something like this: "Don't let USC beat you twice." The Utes should want and need this game more than ever to bounce back from the close loss at the Coliseum in Los Angeles last week. The dramatic field-goal block finish and heartbreaking loss for the Utes last Saturday should motivate them even more for this Saturday against BYU so they can get the losing taste out of their mouths.

    They were really only three points away from tying the game with a Coleman Petersen field goal from 41 yards out. USC lead 17-14 with 11 seconds left in the game after the Utes had driven down the field and were in position to tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown.

    The play was a bit rushed, the line broke down on the right side and USC's Matt Kalil, who by the way stands at a tall 6'7", had no trouble blocking the slightly low kick off of Petersen's boot. To add injury to insult, USC's Torin Harris ran the blocked field goal back for a touchdown to cement the win for the Trojans with a 23-14 score.

    The Utes need to come out against BYU with as much passion as they've ever had and get this frustrating close loss out of their systems.

BYU: Bounce Back After Close Texas Loss

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    BYU lead the might Texas Longhorns in their own house 13-0. What? That's right, BYU lead Texas in Austin last Saturday 13-0 somewhere in the first half of the second quarter. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they were not able to hold on to that lead as it was slowly whittled down from 13-0 to 13-3 to 13-10.

    BYU would score another field goal and make it 16-10 in the third quarter, however, Texas would come right back and run in for the final and game-winning touchdown with just under nine minutes to play, making it 17-16 for Texas.

    BYU could not get anything on offense going to make a last-chance drive for a winning field goal or touchdown, and they were forced to swallow a tough loss as they left the great state of Texas.

    BYU should want this game against Utah more than ever to bounce back from this hard-to-stomach loss that could have been a win down in Texas. They should want to Utah game to get back on the winning track to propel them forward for the rest of their Independent season.

UTAH and BYU: It's the Holy War! Win It for Pride, Fans and That Beehive Boot!

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    Last of all, folks, and most importantly: THIS IS THE HOLY WAR! This is UTAH-BYU Rivalry Game!

    Needless to say, neither team should need any extra motivation or reasons to get up for this game! For how much it means to both sides' alumni and fans in the community and in the state of Utah, both teams should be pumped and ready to go come Saturday night in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

    And...I'm fully confident they both will be, and it will make for another great showdown in the history books of this heated and close rivalry.