MUSS is a fan group done right

By By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

In August, I had the privilege of attending the Utah-Michigan football game in the Big House. Regrettably, yet understandably, more students showed up 30 minutes before the game than can even fit in the MUSS. I was impressed. That’s more of me lending props to the pageantry and tradition of the winningest program in college football, however, than a bust on Utah.

The Utes have been winning consistently for less than 20 years, and have only had a stadium worthy of hosting a Sugar Bowl Champion since Rice-Eccles was refurbished and expanded for the 2002 Olympics. Utah’s MUSS is establishing itself the way all great things are built8212;with time, hard work and a solid foundation. The MUSS is already 3,346 members strong this year and we still have a new freshman class to welcome and four months till we welcome back assistant head coach Gary Andersen and Utah State on Sept. 3. The MUSS is expecting to cap out at more than 5,000 and is lobbying with the ticket office to get more seats. In time, the MUSS could outgrow Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The MUSS might merely hold a candle to tradition-rich programs such as Penn State, Michigan, Florida and LSU as far as size is concerned, but atmosphere is a different story. The third-down jump was a terrific new addition last year. Keeping track of false starts with paper-size 5s down the front row of the MUSS was equally nice. The MUSS stands the entire game, is loud and is the best example the Crimson Club has had on proper game loudness in my lifetime. There’s still one thing I think the MUSS can improve upon, but then again, I’m the type of asshole who would try to tell God how to run heaven.

I understand that it would take a lot of regulation and sectioning off to keep the MUSS separate from the rest of the student section. Otherwise, why have a MUSS at all, but make a wristband or something that gets you into the MUSS general admission area and let the first people at the game sit as close as their promptness allows. It seems that there is a potential for memberships to dwindle as more members sign up because you’re virtually guaranteed a nosebleed seat.

Either way, you can’t beat a dedicated seat, access to six tailgating parties with free food and a T-shirt for $25. The T-shirt alone is worth that price. To me, the MUSS has become the prominent student group on campus, and not just because you get to watch one of the best football teams in the country. Utah has long been a commuter school smack in the middle of a large metropolitan area. For as long as it’s been a commuter school, people have been trying to figure out a way to get and keep people on campus to create more of a college atmosphere that many other colleges across the country experience. The MUSS is the closest thing Utah has to being a group that is not only diverse, but a magnet for the college atmosphere that Crimson Nights, the Grand Kerfuffle and RedFest so desperately pine for. Utah’s football MUSS has been grown and cultivated, and has combined with the best athletic product in the state to go any way it wants. Hopefully one day, similar MUSS programs can be grown in basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and the like. As for now, it feels good to know that our No. 2 football team has a first-rate student section. Even if the students put rushing the field out of style all in one season.

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