The sports rivalry between Brigham Young University and the University of Utah could be considered one of the biggest in the nation. Often dubbed “the Holy War,” the rivalry takes on connotations of “church vs. state,” due to BYU being the flagship university of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Utah being the flagship university of the state of Utah. Other factors contribute to the large scale of the rivalry, including the universities’ proximity to each other, the length of the series (the first game between the two was played in 1896), and the large fanbases of both teams. Because of these factors, games between the two teams can get heated, whatever sport is being played.
Of course, the BYU-Utah rivalry exists outside of sports as well. It seems that many people who like BYU enjoy emphasizing the rivalry with Utah, and vice versa. This is to be expected, because BYU and Utah are so similar, yet so different.
Because our school is situated in the Wasatch Front, almost directly between BYU and Utah, our students and faculty are mixed in their support for the two colleges. We talked to some of them on their feelings about the rivalry.
Max Wright, a junior, is a major Utah fan because both of his parents attended college there. He also says he is a fan because “the sports are a lot better at the U than at BYU–at least the ones that matter. Like Utah has beaten BYU in football for the past 9 years.” Wright supports the BYU-Utah rivalry. “I like a little friendly rivalry,” he responds, “because it kinda reveals the good and bad in both colleges.”
However, senior Tony Johnson has a different view. “I’m not really a fan of either college,” he says. Admittedly not a “sports guy,” Johnson prefers looking at the colleges not from a sports standpoint, but from the programs they offer. “BYU has a better business school, but Utah has better medical or music programs.”
As for the rivalry, Johnson states, “I think it’s silly. Not that it’s stupid, but I think the rivalry’s not really necessary.”
It is okay to have rivalries. But at the end of the day, we need to put our differences aside and come together in love.