BYU, Utah look for bragging rights wherever they can

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

A rivalry such as the one between BYU and Utah cannot be contained by white lines on a green field. Nor does it stay behind the doors of a basketball arena.

The Holy War transcends religious boundaries, as well as state and international borders. The rivalry presents itself almost everywhere on the respective campuses of Utah and BYU.

Don’t relegate the rivalry to just sports, either. Clubs get in on the action as well.

Although regulations disallow BYU and Utah from competing in chess in official tournaments, members of both clubs work out ways to do so unofficially. According to the U’s chess club adviser Robert Williams, BYU chess players venture to the U campus to challenge Utah’s finest.

“BYU and Utah have had great chess players for decades,” Williams said. “We want to play each other.”

According to Williams, a couple of BYU players challenge students from the U’s esteemed club on a weekly basis.

The student governments for both universities have taken advantage of their opportunities to live the rivalry as well.

“We used to play football against the BYU student government up until four or five years ago,” said Basim Motiwala, vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “Unfortunately, things began to get out of hand in those friendly games and since then, we have stopped.”

The student governments of both schools like to get their entire campuses and surrounding communities involved in the rivalry. The schools have found a way to compete in just about anything — even food drives.

Yes, BYU and Utah compete to see who can donate the most food every year. The BYU-Utah food drive began Nov. 12 and ends Nov. 24. Last year, BYU collected at least 64,000 pounds of food — more than twice the U’s donations.

“We try to push the idea of donating to a good cause,” said Chris Giovarelli, president of the Student Alumni Association at BYU. “But certainly, competition against Utah raises the community’s awareness of the event.”

Apparently, feeding the hungry is more fun for the U and BYU when they can do it better than their rival.

Ice cream sales are another place the rivalry has extended to. The marketing geniuses over at Dreyer’s have exploited the rivalry. The flavors are exactly the same — one is packaged as Cougar Craze, the other is Ute Blitz. Dreyer’s challenges fans to buy more than their rivals. Needless to say, the scheme works.

Fans have even taken the competition to the Internet. Shortly after iPod combined with Nike to make a shoe that keeps track of the miles one has run on his or her iPod, a challenge was set up on nikeplus.nike.com between BYU and Utah fans to see who could compile the most miles.

Of course, the rivalry is most fierce on the gridiron. But not just at Rice-Eccles Stadium and LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Steve Fifita, Utah class of 2006, and John Beck, BYU class of 2007, are now teammates on the Miami Dolphins. Fifita said he’s glad that Utah won the rivalry game his senior year, beating Beck.

“It’s nice to have bragging rights,” Fifita said.

It seems that having bragging rights in any possible way over a rival is worth the trouble.

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