There is a huge rivalry game Friday evening in Provo, with nasty intentions written all over it. Revenge, bad blood, all the good stuff, all in one place.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it from hearing that the Utah State – BYU game in Lavell Edwards Stadium tomorrow night isn’t even a sellout yet.
End zone seats remain at Lavell’s spot for what is sure to be the best played rivalry game this year. Sorry, Holy War fans, but a 54-10 drubbing by the visiting team–Utah, that is–does not make for a great game.
However, everybody wants, and expects the battle for the “Old Wagon Wheel” to be as heated, and as violent, and as beautiful, as any game that has been played in recent memory. It’s time to forget about the “Holy War That Wasn’t.”
The reason is simple: for the first time in who knows how long, Utah State actually won a game between the two schools last year, a 31-16 victory in Logan, and it has sparked animosity ever since.
Nobody from either school has publicly said they hate the other’s guts, but BYU would rather sniff, then eat glue than let the upstart Utah State Aggies come into their building, and win two in a row.
By the same token, Utah State would love nothing more than to sucker punch their in-state rival like Mayweather, and head back north with another win, especially considering that the Aggies haven’t won in Provo since 1978.
Three decades of futility should equal Aggie fans doing whatever they can–short of Hawaii fans who reportedly stowed away in planes for that Sugar Bowl loss–to get down to Provo post-haste.
But for some unknown reason, not everybody is willing to make the drive down to Provo.
Did ESPN make this game too easy on fans? Are they staying home, because of the fact that the sports communication mothership, “The Worldwide Leader In Sports” is televising the game?
Or, is it because of expected delays lasting several hours if you indeed intend to travel to the game?
You already know how easy it is to turn on a TV. Perhaps it’s also the construction. Several days before the game, the Utah
Department of Transportation issued an advisory to Utah State fans through the USU athletics department. It read:
“UDOT is encouraging [Utah State] fans that the earlier they arrive in Provo, the less congested and harried their travel will be for them. Those alumni and fans who delay their departure from Cache Valley to any later than 2 p.m., may not be able to reach LaVell Edwards Stadium in time for the start of the game due to construction-caused traffic delays.”
So Aggie fans should get ready for a noon departure … for a game that starts at 7 p.m. Naw, that won’t scare anybody off … right?
Just doing the logistics off the top of my severely limited cranium, if you have a family with, say, children, that means you have to pull them out of school early–not good for attendance, if you know what I mean. Then, haul the bunch into the minivan, and literally sit in traffic, weaving in and out of orange cones while avoiding potholes on the road course commonly referred to as Interstate 15 in Utah County.
Of course, the maddening part about this weekend is that the next day, the Utah Utes host Washington in their first-ever Pac-12 home game. And, that game has been a sellout for several days now.
With the lengthy construction delays, why not move the USU-BYU game to Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday night? Well, there are hundreds of reasons why not, most of them ecclesiastical.
What does this possible non-sellout in Provo say about the battle for the “Old Wagon Wheel,” the storied rivalry between BYU–the school that Lavell built, and Utah State—the school he attended and played for?
It certainly doesn’t speak favorably, not even with those crafty ESPN cameras watching the Aggies’ and Cougars’ every move.
And, it’s a shame that more people can’t get out of their La-Z-Boys to watch what will undoubtedly be a great game, and perhaps even a historical one.
NOTE: For people trying to do trip planning, UDOT recommends using the 800 North Exit (Exit 272) in Orem, and taking 800 North (SR-52) east to University Boulevard, and then going south on University Boulevard (US-189) directly to LaVell Edwards Stadium. This will be a much better option than attempting to use the traditional route of 1200 South and the University Parkway past the University Mall to LaVell Edwards Stadium, or Center Street into downtown Provo before turning left and heading north on University Boulevard. For information about this event, alumni and fans can go to http://utahcommuterlink.com, and click on the Planned Special Event Alerts link on the left side. There, they will be able to receive information that will be posted about traveling to the USU-BYU game and choke points in their travel and how to avoid them. They can also check our http://udot.utah.gov website and click on the ‘Know Where Know Why’ tab at the top right corner of the page. Once they do that, all they have to do is click on the minature construction barrel closest to the area they are concerned about, and travel information will pop up that will help them avoid potential trouble spots.
If fans have any questions about getting to the game, please contact the I-15 CORE Project Team at http://www.i15core.utah.gov/getting_around.php, e-mail [email protected], or telephone 1-888-415-2673.