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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The state's biggest college rivals are squaring off in a competition that will last much longer than any football or basketball game.
Students from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah are preparing for the Nov. 22 football rivalry game by seeing who can raise the most donations for the state's food banks.
Donors can either buy a red "U" or blue "Y" at selected businesses or donate canned foods on the campuses. It's go-time, especially after a narrow Utah victory a year ago.
Utah fans raised $1,611 from sales of the letters last year, while BYU raised $1,554.
"Last year we lost the drive by only $57, and we're hoping to reverse the result," said Todd Hendricks, program administrator of BYU alumni activities.
Cougar fans got off to quick start. The BYU Bookstore sold $1,500 worth of navy Y's on Monday alone.
"The Twilight Zone in the Wilkinson Student Center is covered in blue," Hendricks said. "It's navy. We're quite thrilled. We couldn't believe it."
John Fackler, Utah director of business relations, joked that Cougar fans should be striving for some sort of victory in the midst of a subpar football season. BYU is 4-6 entering Saturday's game at Notre Dame.
"It's nice BYU fans are rallying around the food drive because they're not going to beat us on the field," Fackler said.
Utah is also offering online donation forms. There's also a drive for cash donations at Saturday's football game against Wyoming at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
"Every year this just gets bigger and bigger," he said. "When your team's doing well, it helps even more."
Utah has also enlisted first-year football coach Urban Meyer, who appears on a poster that says "Beating BYU on the field is my problem. Beating BYU in the food drive is up to you."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)