Head to Head: Talking About The Holy War With The Daily Universe


The University of Utah runs onto the field during an NCAA Football game vs. the Brigham Young University Cougars at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


We reached out to Aaron Fitzner, the sports editor of The Daily Universe at Brigham Young University, and asked him some questions about how things are going down in Provo in the days before the Holy War.


Sammy Mora: What is the biggest question mark for BYU football heading into the season?

Aaron Fitzner: It seems like the biggest question mark is at the linebacker position. BYU is having the very fortunate problem of having too many linebackers that could see their names called on opening night and there is an ongoing battle for the starting spots.


SM: Last year’s game was wild. What are you hoping to see from this year’s game?

AF: Honestly, a close game is what everyone wants. Of course, it would be nice if the team that you side with blew the other team out, but that’s not why you buy a ticket to a game like this. I want to see both teams play their absolute best game in front of a sold-out crowd on the first night of the college football season. That’d leave me happy.


SM: The Utah game is the first of four P5 games that BYU will play in. What are you hoping to see from them by the end of week four?

AF: A winning record after week four. BYU has a real chance to do that this year. Four P5 teams will be exhausting, but BYU’s offensive line should keep Zach Wilson healthy while giving our running backs the space they need. Our defense is typically strong, so there’s no concern there.


SM: What is the importance of this rivalry game?

AF: Rivalries give meaning. This year, we are lucky to see the two teams kick off the 2019 NCAA season with a nationally broadcasted game on ESPN and that alone will give more meaning to this game. BYU-Utah will be watched around the country, meaning that more people will be able to buy into this rivalry. I typically enjoy having rivalry games closer to the end of the season, but it’ll be interesting to see its implications on both teams seasons right out of the gate.


SM: How do you think the game impacts each of the schools involved?

AF: There are tons of implications for both schools. Financially, this is great for both schools. ESPN comes in, ticket sales increase and memorabilia is purchased. On paper, this game will impact Utah’s rankings regardless of the outcome while also affecting BYU’s bowl eligibility. From a fan’s perspective, these two teams give identity. Utah could tie the record for most consecutive wins against its rival, while BYU is trying to snap a merciless losing streak. I think it is safe to say that if Utah wins, it will be another year of BYU fans feeling tortured for losing to the team they hate the most while giving Utah fans another full year to rightfully boast about their accomplishment. If BYU wins, BYU will start the season 1-0 with a win against a ranked team, and I’m sure they will hear, “we won eight of the last nine,” from Utah fans for entirety of the next year.


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