How Good Are The Fanbases Of Utah, Utah State, BYU?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Each fanbase thinks their team has the best fans; whether it is tradition, winning, how smart fans are or overall history of the program. What really makes a great fanbase among the three Utah FBS programs?
KSL’s Unrivaled uses four categories to determine which fanbase is ”the best”?
The categories are loyalty not based in reality, educated fanbase, passion with civility and undeniable history.
Hosts of KSL’s UnRivaled Alex Kirry and Scott Mitchell graded the Utes, Aggies and Cougars in each category to find out which school has the best fans. The ranking system is 1-5.
Each fanbase has something they should be proud of. BYU has a Heisman Trophy winner and a National Title in football, Utah is now in the Pac-12 and has two undefeated seasons. While Utah State is a step behind the other two in national achievements they beat BYU in three of their past five games and hope to build upon that success in 2019.
Loyalty not based in reality
This one is self-explanatory, it is the fanbase that is always positive regardless of what is really going on in the program. This type of fan is extremely loyal – no matter what.
“I can’t stand fans that flip flop, typically, Lakers fans are that way if they are good, if so great, if not they are Clippers fans,” Mitchell said.
BYU – 5
“BYU fans are a six, on a scale one to five, they are like a six and off the charts,” Mitchell said, “a lot of people are annoyed by it but I think it can be a plus.”
Cougar fans have a history with Ty Detmer being a Heisman Trophy winner, the 1984 National Title and their unprecedented run under LaVell Edwards when he led BYU to a combined 20 shared or outright conference championships. Then there was beating Utah so dominantly. The Cougars lost only twice between 1972-92.
Utah State – 2
“It is not that Aggie fans are not loyal it’s that you guys are based in the reality of ‘we stink’ or ‘hey we are doing well,'” Kirry said.
Utah State fans haven’t had a prolonged period of success to gain an over-inflated ego. The Aggies have had spurts like Gary Andersen’s first stint as a head coach when he led Utah State to a WAC title, a top 20 end-of-season ranking and if things had gone their way in two games they would have been in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
Utah – 4
Going to the Pac-12 increased the ego of Utah fans. They are finally being seen as a big-time program, according to the duo. That can lead to a bit of inflated self-worth which is why the Utes are rated a four.
Fans have to be smart and know the game they are watching. None of this booing after every single whistle or flag is thrown on the field, because believe it or not, sometimes your favorite team committed a totally legitimate infraction, KSL’s UnRivaled pointed out.
BYU – 3
“I have been to so many [BYU] games where I am sitting and watching the fans going, ‘I don’t think this fan group that is around me as a whole is plugged into the game enough,'” Kirry said. “There are people that know exactly what is going on but I don’t get that vibe from BYU fans.”
Utah State – 4
Utah State fans get what is going on with their team as Kirry said, “The Aggies know what they are made of.”
Utah – 4
“Utah understands the Kyle Whittingham philosophy and to make the noise on third-down and they can appreciate defense and understand game situations,” Mitchell said in regards to Utah’s followers.
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Passion with civility
Trash talk is fun but going back and forth and getting out of hand with personal insults, fighting or being obnoxious by a small section of fans can really tarnish the entire group, KSL’s UnRivaled pointed out.
“I think Jazz fans are amazing and some of the best fans, period. I think there is a knock that there are fans in Utah that are kind of racist, but they are not that way,” Mitchell said. “I can’t stand to go to a place like Philadelphia where they have to have a judge and jail [in the stadium]. I have no problem rooting for your team and being passionate about the game but there is strength and power in being classy about it.”
BYU – 4
Going to a home game at LaVell Edwards is usually a good experience for opposing fans. Everyone is friendly and gets along, Kirry pointed out, but there is still banter brought on by the Cougars wanting to win.
Utah State – 2
The Aggies have had a few too many situations that Kirry witnessed in Logan.
“When your school has to send an official policy from the school to a player and had to do it multiple times, you have an issue,” Kirry said. “It is not just fans being passionate but not getting the part about there being a human being on the other end.”
Utah – 4
The Ute fanbase has one particular moment that Kirry mentioned that gives them a high mark – when former BYU offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds left the game with a career-ending injury.
“The Utah fans stood up on the West side of the stadium and cheered for him, and that is respect, I liked it. I have seen so much of the opposite in this rivalry before,” pointed out Kirry.
As the late Al Davis used to say, “just win, baby.”
Being successful on the field is the most important way to build a fanbase and attract more fans. There are few subsets of fans that will stick around for a losing program.
BYU – 4
“Just on what LaVell Edwards did is plenty of history for the Cougars,” Kirry said.
There is a national title in 1984, 20 conference titles, a Heisman Trophy winner, a bowl record of 7-14-1 and 12 top 25 rankings with seven of those being in the top 15. Those numbers just under Edwards are enough for a high mark for the Cougars when it comes to undeniable history.
Utah State – 2
The Aggies have had seasons of success but nothing sustainable.
If we are talking basketball Utah State scores well with what they did under Stew Morrill for those 20-plus win seasons.
Football has been hit or miss, according to the duo. Gary Andersen achieved great success in his first stint and Matt Wells had a great 2018 but beyond a handful of years Aggies football has not been all that great.
Utah – 4
Utah gets a high mark for recent success in football over the past two decades with a pair of big bowl games and reaching the Pac-12 title game in 2018.
Include basketball from the Rick Majerus era and the score remains high.
Utah has defeated their arch Rival BYU in their last eight meetings.