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BYU Is Only A Piece Of The Pressure Utah Faces All Season

Quarterback Tyler Huntley #1 of the Utah Utes drops back to pass during the first half of the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU vs. Utah rivalry always comes with pressure for each team to leave the stadium victorious. The 2019 edition of the game is no different. There is a lot riding on the outcome of this game for each team.

The Cougars are looking to snap the eight-game losing streak against the Utes; while Utah’s season-long success is not completely correlated to winning or losing to BYU. However, if Utah wants to be the playoff team so many national experts are projecting, a win over the Cougars is a must, according to KSL’s UnRivaled.

It Is On BYU To Make This A Rivalry

Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry, hosts of KSL’s UnRivaled, attempted to answer whether or not it is on the Cougars to make this game highly competitive. The duo also attempted to answer – who needs this game more?

Kirry said ending the streak on the Cougars side is more of what the fans and former players would like to see happen than the current players on the BYU roster.

Obviously, the current roster at BYU wants to win but they have been part of anywhere from one to four losses, still, a lot but the fanbase has nearly a decade of enduring losses to the Utes.

“For BYU it is another year of getting worse and worse, and I know the players on this team now have nothing to do with the eight loses,” Kirry said. “This is not the team that has lost all of these games, and Kalani Sitake is not even the coach who has lost all of these games.”

It’s on BYU to make this a rivalry, Kirry assured.

Kirry has a point, the Cougars have lost eight in a row and this game seems to be getting more lopsided as the years go by. Going back further in time, BYU has a record 5-13 against Utah since 2000. So, it is more than just an eight-game losing streak that is on the mind of Cougar fans.

The Utes have slowly climbed the Pac-12 ladder are now at the top with grandiose goals whereas BYU is not getting that same type of hype.

It would go a long way if the Cougars were to upset the Utes in the opener this year because Utah is expected to have a once in a generation season, according to Mitchell and Kirry.

Utah Has Season Long Pressure

Utah can achieve nearly every goal it has set for itself even if they lose to BYU. However, coming from the Pac-12, which is seen from outsiders as not as good as the other Power 5 conferences, the Utes have to be perfect to realistically have a shot at the College Football Playoff, according to Mitchell.

No longer can Kyle Whittingham point to some sort of disrespect his team is getting and then use that motivate them. Now, each and every game will build and fill with pressure, so couple all of that by opening up at your rival, it is a big game for the Utes.


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With that being said, Mitchell said the pressure is extremely high for Utah.

“Utah has much more on the line. If you are seriously going to go to the College Football Playoffs, you have to win every game. There is more pressure and it’s a bigger stage for Utah,” Mitchell said. “This is a state rivalry. This isn’t like a national rivalry where the whole entire country is watching Ohio State vs. Michigan or USC vs. Notre Dame, it is not. It is powerful here.”

The game itself has its own set of pressures every year but for the playoff predictions to be validated, the Utes will have pressure all season long and the BYU game is just one piece of that.

“Winning a rivalry game is not the biggest pressure, but making sure you get to the College Football Playoff. This game has no impact on winning the Pac-12 but it has a huge impact on the impression Utah can make on a national stage,” Mitchell added.

Utah players know what this season could potentially be so they will be laser-focused on each and every game and there will be pressure, but a rivalry game adds to that with a more emotional factor.

The Cougars want to end the losing streak and the Utes want to get past a potentially emotional game.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast. 

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