The Utah Utes and BYU Cougars have a pretty heated rivalry already. It’s called the Holy War, for crying out loud. Their proximity, clashing ideologies and long-standing history of hard fought games on the field have made it one of the more underrated rivalries in college football. That didn’t stop some Utes players from throwing a little extra gas on the fire for this weekend’s installment of the rivalry, however, which should make Saturday’s game in Provo even better.
This week, a video popped up on Twitter that showed some Utah players, including senior linebacker Brian Blechen, doing a “mock” baptism. Blechen was immersed in one of the cool-down tubs in the Utes’ locker room by an unidentified teammate like he was getting baptized. While the video is a couple of weeks old at this point, BYU fans are just now seeing it and they are none too pleased.
Many Cougars’ fans feel like the Utes are mocking BYU which takes baptisms very seriously as a sacred ordinance within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns and operates BYU. They were up in arms about getting disrespected this week, but Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham isn’t seeing it that way. He sees no need for disciplinary action over the video, though he admits that it was “poor judgment,” as he feels there was “absolutely no malice or disrespect intended” from the players.
It may have been some innocent horsing around by the Utah players and it may or may not have been at the expense of their rivals, but don’t expect BYU fans to let it go that easily. All of Provo is going to be charged up on Saturday night and LaVell Edwards Stadium is going to be electric as the BYU home crowd gets the chance to voice their displeasure on the Utes. Can they get some satisfaction on the football field with a victory in the Holy War?