Utes vs Cougars: The “Holey” Argument of Big Brother/Little Brother

Posted: June 10, 2011 by Dan Condie in BYU, NCAA Football, Utah
Tags: , ,

Should you ever have 5-10 minutes to kill and want to laugh: Go to your local newspaper’s online college football section and pick an article at random, scroll to the very bottom and start reading the reader comments.

You’ll find a jungle of pride, ignorance, more pride, a few thousand statistics, stand up comedian hopefuls, etc.

Here, in Salt Lake City, I have the pleasure of stumbling across “comment battles” in which I have a vested interest; the Utah/BYU football rivalry.

It’s dangerous business reading a comment or two.

You start to get into it.

But if you put in the effort to actually “throw down” and give an opinion on one side or the other, you want to make sure your point is sound and air-tight.

The second you hit that “send” key, it’s up for assault.

You begin to see a phenomenon called “keyboard courage.” People saying whatever they want, paying no mind to the consequences of their words, hiding in anonymity.

It was during such a 10-minute-killing visit that I came across a comment battle under an article regarding Utah’s and BYU’s recruiting of a local QB.

You know when you’re looking at anywhere over 50 comments, it’s an argument. I don’t care who you are, No one is going to write “I agree with everything the previous 49 people said.”

That just doesn’t happen.

So, I take a look and, sure enough, a group of Ute and Cougar fans are going toe-to-toe about why this QB would choose either school over the other. This kid is not the second coming of Tim Tebow, but, fans will be fans and a stage is a stage.

After reading thousands and thousands of back and forth trash talk over the years, one point is argued loud and clear by both sides: They are the big brother in the rivalry and both cite their own reasons.

I think that often “big” and “little” are confused with “older” and “younger” when used with brother in a rivalry sense.

Utah, when claiming to be the big brother, is accused of fraud for the lack of the same accomplishment BYU achieved during their dominance – a Cougar; National Championship, Heisman winner, etc.

BYU, when claiming to be big brother to “the team on the hill,” is dismissed as a novelty, having only the amazing streak nearly 2 decades forgotten while Utah sees national success and recognition more recently.

I want to hear it well thought out and tell me who you think is the big/little brother in the Utah/BYU rivalry specifically regarding football.

I want to write  a say-all, end-all, type article on the matter and this topic is open as far as I’m concerned.

Think hard and comment, or email me your response at forthandwon@gmail.com and I’ll publish them or throw ’em on Twitter.com?

  1. Tanner says:

    How about they’re twins, so really neither has the claim.

  2. Jeff says:

    The U of U is older and is therefore the big brother.

  3. You know, it doesn’t really matter. Let’s say for argument’s sake that BYU had this “big brother” status. Imagine finding out your little bro climbed his way up to a $20 million dollar gig doing the same work you do for a fraction of that. You will always be his big bro, but just…really, who cares about that. We all know who dad loves best at that point. lil’ bro would go on vacations to Fiji, have an indoor pool and a beach house in Spain. Even if big bro does the job better with a perfect record, who is the real winner there?

  4. John says:

    As a Utah alumni, I recognize my bias, but I’m going to make the argument anyway. BYU was originally created as an extension of what would come to be known as the University of Utah. It was literally created as a “little brother” type institution. They get props for their national title 30 years ago…even though they only had to beat a 6-5 Michigan team to get it (and how many people really think that a BYU team that only beat Wyoming by 3 that year really would have beat Washington or Nebraska…honestly?). But what have they done lately? You don’t hear Utah fans bragging about winning the National Title in basketball back in 1944 do you? And what’s the difference between something that happened 10-20-or 30 years ago and something from 67 years ago? Nothing. Utah and BYU have been very competitive in recent years. But if you want to call yourself the “Big Brother”, don’t you have to do something relevant every 25 or 30 years? Even in their recent best years, they just can’t quite get there. And so, until they start making that jump to the BCS every now and then, I believe they warrant a designation of “little brother.”

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