Utah Utes Football 2011: The Renewal of a Lost Rivalry?

Posted: November 25, 2011 by Dan Condie in Air Force, BYU, Colorado, Mountain West, NCAA Football, PAC-12, TCU, USC, Utah
Tags: , , , , ,

At 1:30 PM on Friday, November 25, 2011 the University of Utah and Colorado University face off in the last regular season game as “natural geographic rivals.”

I think I speak for the vast majority of the Ute fan base when I say Colorado is not our rival any more than the University of Arizona or UCLA are our rivals.

I like to think that a rivalry inspires greater play on both sides of the ball. For Utah, there have been several different rivalries over the years. Most often, three situations surround a true rivalry.

#1 – Proximity

This situation seems to breed the deepest of rivalries. Of course, for Utah, this rival is BYU. Personally, I see no reason this will change. Colorado will not replace BYU as the “rival next door” unless they become much more competitive in both the division and head to head. I don’t see this happening soon.

#2 – Consistently Close Competition

The most infamous of Utah rivalries in this category is undoubtedly the Air Force Falcons. Over the last 9 meetings between the 2, the average margin of victory was about 6.1 points.

Who knows, maybe Colorado will step into the Air Force void as the game each year that Utah fans dread as an inevitable battle and struggle, but I would take Air Force over Colorado head to head 4 out of 5 games the way each team is currently playing.

#3 – Big Time Games

The last decade or so, Utah has battled BYU for not only bragging rights in the Holy War result, but also for rank in the conference standings. Because the Holy War was played as the last game of the regular season, there was inherently added importance. In ’04 and ’08, specifically, Utah/BYU was highly important for Utah to finish undefeated, and even for BYU in a spoiler role. In ’09, BYU beating Utah broke a conference record tie of 6-1.

With Utah and TCU battling the last 3 years for national spotlight and BCS invites out of the Mountain West Conference, it felt sometimes TCU was more a conference rival than the Cougars.

With better recruiting and gained familiarity in the Pac-12 South, I find it hard to believe that the Utah/Colorado game will hold a lot more weight than Utah clinching the South division with a victory (which may be the case in this inaugural year).

I have hopes that within the next 5 years, Utah builds a rivalry or rivalries with division or conference foes the caliber of USC’s and Arizona State’s.

*     *      *

In closing, I do see three situations where a rivalry could ignite between the Buffs and Utes this weekend, and that is if CU beats Utah on a last second play, if CU blows Utah out, or if a brawl breaks out after a controversial play.

At least the genius’ marketing this forced rivalry thought up an amazingly cool name for the game.

“Rumble in the Rockies”…


  1. Jacob says:

    So the school is not referred to Colorado University any more than Utah is Utah University…let’s get that correct for Pete’s sake. Don’t feel bad, Colorado does not look at Utah as a rival either. Yes, we did beat you guys the first year, but who’s counting. We’ll see you Boulder.

    • Dan Condie says:

      Not referred to “as” Colorado University, first of all. Lets get our grammar right for Pete’s sake if you’re going to nitpick.
      Secondly, I know we’re not referred to as Utah University, as our acronym is wisely U of U. I called it Colorado University just like I call them UC. We don’t expect you to think of us as a rival. You had enough on your plate losing to Nebraska every single year and even splitting series with the phenomenal Rams of CSU

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