Drink the Kool-Aid, Ute Fans


Brigham Young University freshman linebacker Jake Oldroyd (39) kicks a field goal during an NCAA Football game vs. The University of Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


The preseason hype is a blessing and a curse when it comes to sports teams. This fall, the University of Utah has two teams who have eyes on them when it comes to their success for this upcoming season.  

The No. 14 football team was on the receiving end of a lot of hype this offseason. The predictions of national analysis have the team going as far as the College Football Playoffs at the end of the year. Also, with all the players being put on watch lists for the best player in their given position group, the hype for not only the team as a whole but also individuals on the team is monumental.  While some people want nothing to do with the hype, this season will be special for Utah football, so I would recommend jumping on the bandwagon.  

However, the football team isn’t the only team getting preseason love. The Utah volleyball team as been earning preseason attention as well. The team was picked to finish fifth in the conference, and Dani Drews was named to the All-Conference Preseason Team.

The thing that fans need to understand is that teams this special only come around now and again. 

It takes programs a lot of time to build up the talent to be able to contend for a conference and even a national title. College athletics isn’t like professional sports where athletes sign a contract for a certain number of years and they can keep adding and subtracting until they get the best combination. 

College athletes have four (give or take) years to play and once their time is over, it’s over. There are no contract extensions, no way to keep them on the team. College athletics are a forever-revolving door. 

Both the volleyball and football teams this year are not only returning numerous key players, but they also have freshmen who are ready to contribute early in the season and will also grow in the program during their time. 

Both of the teams are in the middle of a perfect storm. 

The University of Utah women’s volleyball team celebrates after defeating the University of Colorado Buffaloes during NCAA Volleyball match at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Utah volleyball was picked to finish fifth in the conference, which is the second-highest the team has been picked to finish since joining the conference in 2011. 

Utah football, on the other hand, was not only picked to finish at the top of the south division, but also to win the conference this year. This year was the first time this has happened in the Pac-12 era. 

Since there is such a quick turnover when it comes to college athletes, fans need to buy into the hype now. At some point, the team is going to have to rebuild and they might not be as successful during that time as they were before. 

When the hype is at its highest, it also benefits the programs in question. The more hype the team has, the more attendance goes up, and so does viewership of televised games.  

Hype also benefits the future of each program. High school kids who are being recruited will see that this team is getting national attention and project success and want to be a part of it. For sports like football and basketball where there is a potential to go pro, the more the school you play for is known, the more the athletes themselves are known. 

While the hype is great, there is still the potential to be let down. Trusted people are choosing Utah to win the conference and go onto bigger games. With all the national love the football team has gotten, the risk of being let down is greater now than ever.

While it is harder to pin down a win-loss record for volleyball, there is still a high bar for this year’s team as well. 

The message is simple to Ute Nation — buy into the hype and savor the hype, because the way that both of these programs are being set up, it is going to be a memorable year no matter what. And if something does happen and you are let down, just know that this isn’t the end for these programs. It might take a year or more to get back to the position they are in right now, but they will get back there eventually. 

At the end of the day, the stars will align again and the hype train will come back through Salt Lake City. And when the time comes again, lean into the hype, drink the red Kool-Aid and look through the red-colored glasses. 

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