Thoughts on the University of Utah being invited to join the new PAC-12

So the University of Utah has an invite to join the PAC-12…. Good and bad in my opinion.

The Good

I’ve made clear my thoughts on the annual Holy War between BYU and the U of U. I think the game has turned dangerous in terms of what it should mean. People feel genuine hate over this game, and I said then that I’d like to step away from it. This gives the perfect opportunity to do that.

Additionally, Utah now has a clearer, albeit likely more difficult, path to the big post-season games, including the possibility of a national championship. That’s good for them. Add in the dramatically increased revenue and recruiting potential, and Utah stands to benefit from the move.

But in my opinion, the advantages end there.

The Bad

It’s not really an ethical or moral quagmire to wade through, but it kind of is, isn’t it? Where’s the loyalty? Where’s the lifting of the entire group (the MWC Conference)? While still not a guarantee, staying in the MWC gives not just Utah the chance to succeed, but the entire conference. Is there no triumph in that?

Personally, I was thrilled that Texas told the PAC-12 no. While the reasons were dubious there, there is very real debt owed to Texas by the remaining Big-12 institutions who were figuratively saved by that decision. Utah has the chance to do much the same in the MWC. They are not the linchpin of this conference–if anyone is, it’s probably TCU or maybe BYU with it’s massive fan base–but they have the chance to be truly meaningful in the eyes of the entire conference on a very personal level. While it would never fully heal some of the bad blood that exists, it would certainly provide a measure of devotion.

If Utah chooses to bolt, which I think they will, my feeling isn’t that they’ve “ascended the proverbial mountain” like many Utah fans are claiming. No, the reality is more that they sold out their partners in exchange for a bigger paycheck and the shot at glory. And before someone says that I’m just jealous or that I’d play a different tune if my team had been invited, let me just say that I wouldn’t. I’m opposed to the conference realignments. I’m opposed to the reasons (money) and the huge disservice it does to the fans.

And that’s my final bad point….When does the fan matter? When does the game become something more than money? What of the tradition and the history?

As a BYU fan, I wish the U of U the best of luck (should they go). I think they’ll do fine in the PAC-12. But I’ll be disappointed to see them do such damage to those they leave behind in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

And if they stay, they’ll have my thanks for putting the value of the conference, the potential of the future, and the growth of the group first. If BYU has a similar choice in the future, I hope they choose that higher road.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on the University of Utah being invited to join the new PAC-12

  1. nosurfgirl says:

    To be honest, I’m not much of a BYU football fan at this point (a glass of ice water in the face as i was walking down the road after a game ended any budding aspirations on this point) but I suddenly get really defensive of BYU, hearing this. Who does U of U think they are? Honestly.


  2. Paul says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from, Dave. On one had, I wish the U had shown some conference loyalty, but on the other, I also get why they left: I think that the BCS has made non-BCS conferences second-class citizens. It you don’t happen to belong to a BCS conference, you anther eaccess to the big money or title games available to the BCS schools.

    They have made some nods to fixing this, but I can see why the U jumped at the opportunity to be afforded first-class service when it was offered. Who wants to be the in the group relegated to the back of the bus? Why is it legal for the BCS to discriminate the way they do?

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