For the past 243 days, University of Utah football fans have been able to walk around saying, “We’re undefeated!” That streak gets put on the line tonight for the first time since Jan. 2, with the Utes hosting Utah State, while BYU kicks off on Saturday. There are reasons to be optimistic for the 2009 season for both of the Wasatch Front’s powerhouse college football teams.
However, since college ball is a rigged system— and this is xenophobic Utah—fans of both teams also get to be paranoid and resentful about lack of respect and attention.
Utah Plus: You’ve gone undefeated and been ranked in the top four nationally twice in the last five years, proving that the first time wasn’t a fluke and that you don’t need Urban Meyer.
Minus: Even though you ended last season ranked No. 2, you are playing exactly one game this season on a TV station most people actually get/watch.
BYU Plus: You’re one of a handful of programs across the country that has won 30 or more games over the last three seasons, and you’re playing the first-ever college game in the new billion-dollar Dallas Cowboys stadium.
Minus: You’re a 21-point underdog in your season opener against a team that returns last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, on national TV. In addition, some 17 years after Sports Illustrated named you “the most-hated football team in America,” that still holds true for many people. (And admit it, you love that.)
Utah State vs. Utah @ Rice-Eccles Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. BYU vs. Oklahoma @ Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 5, 5 p.m. TV: ESPN