Could the Holy War still happen in 2020?


It is kind of hard to write a rivalry guide without a rivalry game, and 2020 made it difficult with the season opener between BYU and Utah canceled after the Pac-12 postponed its football season in August.

It is now almost October, and while the Utes have yet to play a game, the Cougars are 2-0 for the first time under head coach Kalani Sitake. BYU fans speculated before the season began that this could be the year that the Cougars finally flip the script and beat the Utes for the first time in 10 years, and there may still be an opportunity to see if that is true.

The Pac-12 announced last week that it will return to play with a shortened seven-game schedule in November. While the plan as of now is to play only conference teams, a sliver of hope remains for a possible rivalry matchup.

The Mountain West Conference also announced last week it will return to play in November, and mentioned the possibility of playing “regional games” outside of the conference. This discussion came about after Air Force, a member of the Mountain West, revealed plans to still play its service academy rivals Army and Navy at some point this season.

If Air Force can play its rivals, other Mountain West teams such as Boise State and Utah State could possibly schedule a regional matchup against BYU, which still has three open weekends in the month of November. Could the same argument be made for a Utah-BYU rivalry game?

As far as proximity and relevance of the rivalry, it’s a no-brainer. But the decision will ultimately be left up to the Pac-12, which has been notoriously conservative in what it allows amid the pandemic. One additional possibility is if one of Utah’s conference opponents has to cancel due to COVID cases, and BYU offers itself up as a replacement.

Once again, the Cougars have three open dates in November, and with their week-two matchup against Army postponed, they will likely be looking for that 10th game for their schedule. Whether that is Utah, Utah State or Boise State, or potentially all three, is yet to be seen.