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