Love thy neighbor to the South?

By By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

I have a confession to make. I actually cheered for BYU to block that potential game-tying extra point against Washington last week. I know I gave my only Cougar friend a load of crap for BYU’s luck, or what tight end Dennis Pitta called destiny, but secretly I was glad. It turns out BYU was living right off the field last week, and for once I’m OK with that.

No, I’m not as evil as Johnny Damon, and, no, I haven’t resorted to the dark side. I still want BYU to lose8212;but I only want them to lose once this year.

See, I have this crazy wish to see No. 15 BYU get past UCLA this weekend, and go seven games deep into the conference portion of their schedule undefeated. I want this to happen because I think No. 22 Utah will do the same. So, when the 2008 version of the Holy War comes to Rice-Eccles Stadium on Nov. 22, and a BCS berth and eternal glory is about to shine on the mighty Cougars, Utah’s better defense can ruin all that Cougar pride just as it’s about to reach its apex.

I want the country to know about the BYU vs. Utah rivalry. I want ESPN College GameDay to visit the Beehive State along with Kirk Herbstreit and his cronies. I want the MWC to be a permanent stamp in the memories of the college football world and I want 2008’s BYU/Utah matchup to mean more than it ever has before. That only happens if both BYU and Utah stay undefeated.

If I have to tolerate listening to a few BYU fans gawk and throw sprite and sherbet parties after every Cougar win, so be it. If I have to endure the sports radio talk shows being filled with BYU fans creaming over how great Max Hall, Dennis Pitta, Harvey Unga and Peter Preacher (Austin Collie) are, I’m fine with that. I can turn off the radio and turn a blind eye. The more glee shed over BYU, the better. Because in my deranged, twisted mind, I would love nothing more than to watch those Provo Smurfs sulk off the field when their BCS dreams have been shattered. I want to see Priesthood holders cry. I want to see members of the Relief Society sob. I want to see BYU’s hopes and dreams go down in flames right before my very eyes.

That’s honestly the only way I’m going to feel totally satisfied about washing my palate of those two gut-wrenching last-minute losses to BYU, which now holds the longest winning streak in the nation. I daydream about Utah’s redemption day like Ralphy hoped for a Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun.

I dream about my ecstasy at BYU fans’ expense. I want to ask Collie why he wasn’t living righteously. I want to see Bronco Mendenhall’s tears.

Sure, the side effect of a BYU loss is, well, a BYU loss, but I’m not in the mood for instant gratification. A loss to Washington would have been funny, but not nearly as sweet as an 11-0 Utah team beating an 11-0 BYU team.

I’ve always loved those T-shirts that say, “My favorite team is Utah and anyone playing BYU.” This year, my favorite team is Utah and the 2008 Utes that plucked the Cougars’ hopes and dreams from the fast track toward paradise.

I know, Father, these are absurd thoughts that I’m having, but I don’t want the Utes to just beat BYU this season. I want them to bring a year’s worth of pain and yet another late December trip to Las Vegas.

At that point, I’ll feel a whole lot better at repenting for all of my malicious thoughts. I promise to love my southern neighbor, but only until mid-November.

[email protected]

Tony Pizza