Cougars-Utes spice things up -- off the field
It started with a brawl 112 years ago.Since then, players have climbed into the stands, fans have attacked cheerleaders, threats have been made, households have been divided, Mountain West Conference titles have been won and -- twice -- a BCS bowl berth has been on the line. Saturday's "Holy War" between BYU and Utah will mark the first time since 1994 (when No. 21 Utah beat No. 20 BYU 34-31) that both teams come into the game ranked. These teams are 9-9 in the past two decades, and 10 of the past 11 games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
In 1993, Utah players and fans attempted to tear down BYU's goalposts after Utah won in Provo for the first time in 22 years. BYU players put their helmets back on and defended the goalposts. The incident prompted BYU defensive lineman Lenny Gomes to utter these infamous words:"All those [Utes] think that's all there is to life, but when I'm making $50,000 to $60,000 a year, they'll be pumping my gas. They're low-class losers." In 1998, BYU linebacker Derik Stevenson attacked a fan in the crowd who was harassing his father. A year later in Provo, a Cougars fan jumped out of the stands and attacked a male Utah cheerleader who was running around the field with a Utah flag after a Utes touchdown. The cheerleader proceeded to beat the fan until police separated the two. Even the coaches don't like each other. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said he and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham have a working relationship. "There aren't times when his wife and he and we go out to dinner, or things like that," Mendenhall said. "I would say [our relationship is] cordial and professional and really doesn't go much beyond that."
Graham Watson is an ESPN.com football blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes conference crowns are up for grabs. Bowl bids often hang in the balance. But rivalry week is about more than that. Pride, bragging rights and some unique trophies are on the line when rivals meet. What could be better -- or more important -- than that?
Rivalry Week: A Closer Look
• Miller: Civil War features rare great matchup
• Bennett: Backyard Brawl heats up Big East
• ACC: Plenty on the line in Commonwealth Cup
• Big 12: Bedlam Series has BCS implications
• SEC: Bama looks to stop recent skid vs. Auburn
• Blue state or red state? UNC-NCSU divided
• The "Big Game" isn't just any game
• Holy War: BYU-Utah spice things up
• SEC: Tennessee has dominated Vandy
• Big Ten: All about the trophy hunting
• Washington: Apple Cup always matters
• Big Ten: OSU-Michigan still The Game
• SportsNation: Do you know your rivalries?
• Vote: Who will be the rivalry week winners?