There are some college football rivalry games with badass names like The Iron Bowl, The Red River Showdown and The Game. There are also ones that are a tad sillier such as The Apple Cup, Farmageddon, The War on I-4. But one rivalry nickname recently got under a columnist’s skin.
In a column for Deseret News, Dick Harmon expressed some frustration at the BYU-Utah rivalry game, nicknamed, “The Holy War.” The name is in reference to BYU being owned and administered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Meanwhile, Utah is a state school.
Harmon took umbrage to the fact that there really isn’t anything “holy” about the rivalry. Aside from both schools simply having large LDS populations, their religion plays little-to-no part of the rivalry.
“These days some would say that political correctness has gone off the rails, but this one is worth a look. This isn’t about believers vs. non-believers.”
“In fact, if you measure a lot of contention and fiery back and forth among rabid fans, it is anything but holy. In some 45 years of covering the rivalry, I’ve seen a lot of the great passion surrounding it, and witnessed much of the bad. And some of the bad does have religious overtones. But Holy War?”
He concluded that the term “Holy War” is little more than a marketing term, and should be discarded.
There are, of course, legitimate reasons for the game to be considered a rivalry: They’re the two biggest schools in the state of Utah, only 50 miles apart, and both quality football programs.
The 100th edition of the game is slated to be played on Thursday.
Utah leads the all-time series with a 61-34-4 record. They are also currently riding an eight-game winning streak.
The game will be played at 10:15 p.m. EST on Thursday and will air on ESPN.