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SALT LAKE CITY -- Welcome to rivalry week. Utah prepares to face long-time hated arch-rival for a spot in the conference championship. Colorado prepares to face a team donning red in a game that doesn't mean much to them in the standings, but they have a chance to play spoiler against a team they hate.
That is what could have been written last year for both teams rivalry game. The locals know that the BYU game was played sometime around Thanksgiving week and was almost always the last game of the season.
What locals may not know is that Colorado had been in the same situation for years with longtime hated rival Nebraska. This will be the first time that Colorado and the Cornhuskers won't play each other since 1947. Nebraska has held a competitive edge for the past two decade or so, but both teams have had great runs. This rivalry included a No. 2 Colorado versus No. 3 Nebraska in 1989 and again in 1994, they split those games. It also produced one of the most miraculous plays in football that led the Huskers to a national championship.
The Arizona teams have the Territorial Cup, also known as the Duel in the Desert. Washington teams play for the Apple Cup. Stanford and Cal play in the Big Game for the Stanford Axe. USC and UCLA may be the biggest overall college rivalry and they play for the Victory Bell, and recently both in their home colors, red and blue. Oregon State and Oregon play in the Civil War. And Utah and Colorado play for pride?
This rivalry might just need a name, something to do with mountains, maybe the Battle for the Greatest Snow on Earth. The "Denver Post" reported a name the two teams created. "The Colorado and Utah marketing departments, soliciting fan input, have worked together to develop "Rumble in the Rockies" as the name of the new Pac-12 rivalry, which will span 11 sports."
Both teams have a black base, so it could be a fitting "Black Friday" with both teams wearing black pants, or the winner gets to wear black jerseys the next year, that would be a great incentive based game, it could be the first of its kind. There would even be cool signs like "Take it Black" and "Back in Black" the possibilities are endless. Here's the name, "Battle for the Black Jersey." Colorado would love it as another slap in the face of Nebraska's "Black Shirt" defense.
Utah fans have a hate for BYU that has turned into a violent and ugly hatred in the "Holy War." Colorado fans and Nebraska fans have a hatred for each other as well despite the extra difference. This is from the "Daily Camera" in Boulder, Colo. "The day after Thanksgiving won't provide the annual opportunity for CU players to unleash years of angst and hatred directed at their nemesis and rival." Now, can the Utes and the Buffaloes develop the rivalry, the hate and the passion to make this game a yearly staple?
The "Denver Post" talked about some small similarities between the Utes and the Huskers, "There's no playing Nebraska anymore. But at least the game against Utah will be played on Friday after Thanksgiving, and the Utes do wear red."
In case Ute fans think they are alone in missing their rival here is more from the Colorado perspective, "The same fire just isn't there for the first meeting with Utah in 49 years no matter how much the schools and the Pac-12 might want a rivalry to develop between these programs. Maybe it happens eventually, but right now, it's just another game for the Buffs." That was also from the "Daily Camera."
Colorado players seem so happy about not playing Nebraska that they say they are actually happy to come to Salt Lake City, "I don't miss Big Red," said Will Periack, Colorado defensive tackle. "I'd rather go to Salt Lake City than Lincoln, Nebraska any day." Now Utahns may not like this, but for any college student to actually want to travel to Salt Lake shows the hatred that these two teams had.
The departments, players and fans will have to wait a few years to see if a rivalry will be created. They normally happen organically, of course a nice bench clearing brawl could help it along. The biggest factor that will create a rivalry is top level competition. Colorado has been bad in their first year, but if they knock the Utes out of the Pac-12 title game Coach Whittingham will make sure Ute fans remember the Buffaloes, Whit remembers his loses see UNLV. While the best thing for the Utes is a win and some loses to get them into the Pac-12 title game, the best thing for the Pac-12 rivalry might be a Buffaloes victory to put some hatred into the indifference.