The Crusades live on, Utah and BYU face off in the Holy War

In this vlog, I talk about the Holy War, what it is and why it is great, between the University of Utah Utes and the Brigham Young University Cougars.

The video of Max Hall saying that he hates Utah can be found here. The video of Utah fans prematurely rushing the field (only twice, not three times like I said in the video) can be found here.

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Protect the Borders! Colorado State and Wyoming still playing on

When one comes west of the Missouri River, they may not realize what is the oldest, and one of the most highly contested rivalries in that region. Well, all it takes is a trip to Fort Collins, Colo., or Laramie, Wyo., to figure that out.

In those towns, homes of Colorado State University Rams and the University of Wyoming Cowboys, respectively, that are separated by about an hour and fifteen minutes on U.S. Highway 287 or an hour and a half on Interstates 25 and 80, nothing is better than beating the Rams or Cowboys.

As Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said in an article by Casper Star-Tribune’s Ben Frederickson, “The Border War is the biggest and most important football gave every year in this program. And it will always be that way, I imagine, until the end of time.”

The Border War is not only the oldest west of the Missouri, it is the second-oldest west of the Mississippi (to the Border Showdown) and has been contested since 1899 when Wyoming took a trip down to Fort Collins and lost to the Rams, 12-0.

The schools have met each year, with the exception of 12 years, for a total 104 times since that day in late November 1899. Early on, it did not even seem like this was much of a rivalry.

The then Colorado Agricultural College Aggies won six out of the first seven games against the Cowboys, and the one that the Aggies did not win was the series’ first game in Laramie, and it ended in a 6-6 tie.

In 1910, the game was once again played in Laramie, and the Cowboys secured their first win in the series by shutting out CAC, 10-0. The Cowboys would travel down to Fort Collins the next season and gain their first road victory in the Border War by a score of 27-0.

Winning would become very rare for the Cowboys, as over the next 31 match-ups,as the Aggies, who in 1935 would become the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, or Colorado A&M for short, would go on to win 24 of the games, tie four, and only lose three games. That included three five-game winning streaks and two-four game winning streaks for CAC/CAM.

It was then that the Aggies fortunes turned sour, because from 1949 until 1973, the Cowboys ruled the War, winning 21 of the 25 gams during that time, which oversaw the change of Colorado A&M to Colorado State University and the adoption of the Ram as the mascot in 1957. That stretch of absolute control included winning streaks of 10 games and seven games. Those winning streaks were separated by a single win for the Rams, a gigantic upset, where the unranked Rams beat the #10 Cowboys 12-10 in Fort Collins.

The Bronze Boot on display at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., in 2007. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Bronze Boot on display at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., in 2007. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In the midst of Wyoming’s seven-game win streak, the ROTC detachments from both schools came together and CSU Army ROTC cadre member, Maj. Vic Fernandez, came up with an idea for a trophy that could be taken home by the winner of each year’s game. The trophy that Fernandez came up with, and that was later accepted, is a size eight parachute jump boot, set in bronze and put on a walnut base, that was worn in Vietnam during a tour in 1966-67 by Capt. Dan. J Romero, who served as a ROTC instructor at CSU. The trophy was first awarded in 1968 to the Cowboys, who beat the Rams 46-14 in Fort Collins. The trophy has come to be known as “The Bronze Boot.”

Since the institution of the Bronze Boot, the rivalry has been much more balanced. The Cowboys finished that seven-game win streak in 1974, and since then, neither school has had a winning streak of more than four games (CSU: 1999-2002, Wyoming: 2009-present), although Wyoming has a chance to change that this weekend.

This rivalry also has one of the more unique traditions in all of college sports. Each year, the Friday before each game, the ROTC detachment from the visiting school runs from their stadium to the Colorado-Wyoming border, and hands off the game ball to the ROTC detachment of the home school, who then runs it back to their stadium. And this is no small jog. The Colorado-Wyoming border rests 39 miles from Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, Colorado State’s home stadium, and 26 miles from War Memorial Stadium, Wyoming’s home stadium.

Now, it can be said that this rivalry is forgotten by most of the country because in most years, Colorado State and Wyoming are just, frankly, not very good. But, when the two teams meet on the gridiron each fall, the atmosphere is electric, regardless of the records of the two teams. None of that matters. All that matters to the players is getting their hands on the Bronze Boot so that it stays in Fort Collins or Laramie for the next 12 months.

Colorado State and Wyoming will meet on the gridiron for the 105th time this Saturday. The game is sure to be intense, and hopefully will spark a resurgence in the rivalry that will ensure that it will never be forgotten.

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Crack the Egg: Ole Miss-Mississippi State Rivalry Fights On

In the Southeast United States, many college rivalries are evident.

The Iron Bowl (Alabama-Auburn), Florida State-Florida, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Florida-Georgia), and the Governor’s Cup (Kentucky-Louisville) all come to mind. But one very intense rivalry plays on without the national attention that other rivalries in the South receive.

The University of Mississippi Rebels, commonly known as Ole Miss, and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs have met 109 time over the last 112 years, typically in late November, for each teams’ final game of the regular season. From 1901 until 1926, this rivalry was heavily dominated by Mississippi State, which was then called Mississippi A&M.

A&M and Mississippi first met on the gridiron in 1901, when Mississippi State’s mascot was known as the Aggies and Ole Miss’s mascot was the Flood. The Aggies dominated the rivalry, and that’s putting it nicely, in the early years winning 17 out of the first 24 games played between 1901 and 1926. (The Flood and Aggies did not meet on the field from 1912-1914) But that 1926 game changed the rivalry forever.

In 1926, the Flood, who would be renamed the Rebels in 1936, beat the Aggies, who would be renamed the Maroons when A&M became Mississippi State College in 1932 and then renamed again to become the Bulldogs in 1961, three years after the school became known as Mississippi State University, 7-6 for the team’s first victory in the rivalry since 1910.

After the victory, the Ole Miss fans stormed Scott Field (now known as Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field, and is still home to Mississippi State’s football team) and made an attempt to steal A&M’s goal posts.

According to OleMissSports.com, “Irate Aggie supporters took after the ambitious Ole Miss group with cane bottom chairs, and fights broke out. The mayhem continued until most of the chairs were splintered.”

The goal posts stayed put, and injuries were reported, but the Flood and their fans were still extremely excited. In the last 13 games, all victories for A&M, Ole Miss had been outscored 327-33 and by an average of 25-3.

Due to the mayhem that erupted in Starkville, members of Sigma Iota, an Ole Miss honorary society, proposed the idea of a trophy that the winning team could take home with them, instead of the winning team’s fans going after the goal posts. The trophy that was proposed and later accepted was modeled after a football from the time period covered in gold and placed on a pedestal. Up close, stitches are even visible. Fans noticed that the trophy essentially looked like a golden egg and beginning in 1927, the game between Mississippi State and Ole Miss became officially known as the “Battle of the Golden Egg.”

Since the institution of the Golden Egg, the domination of the rivalry has switched sides. Ole Miss leads Mississippi State by a record of 54 wins for the Rebels to 25 wins for the Bulldogs and 5 ties. There have been many defining moments for the series in the years since the institution of the trophy.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in the 2009 Egg Bowl, 41-27. Photo courtesy of Roger Smith on Flickr.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in the 2009 Egg Bowl at Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Miss., 41-27. Photo courtesy of Roger Smith on Flickr.

In 1978, the game became colloquially known as the “Egg Bowl” after Steve Doyle of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger declared that that year’s Battle of the Golden Egg would serve as a de-facto bowl game for the two schools as the Bulldogs owned a 6-4 record and the Rebels had a 4-6 record and neither team would make a trip to a bowl game that season.

Five years later, in 1983, the Rebels claimed a hard fought 24-23 victory over Mississippi State, in a game that was affected by 40 mph winds that knocked down a potential 27-yard game-winning field goal by Bulldog kicker Artie Cosby. This game has come to be known as the “Immaculate Deflection.”

In 1999, the Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter down 20-6, but rallied to tie the game. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Ole Miss decided to pass the ball instead of taking a knee to send the game to overtime. The pass from quarterback Romero Miller was deflected by the hands and foot of Mississippi State cornerback Robert Bean and then intercepted by defensive back Eugene Clinton and returned to the Rebel’s 34 yard-line. Bulldog kicker Scott Westerfield then came out and knocked in a 44-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs the victory, their first in three years. This game has come to be known by the name “The Pick and the Kick.”

Those are just two of the many exciting games that have come out of this intense rivalry, and it doesn’t look as if there will be any boring moments in this year’s Egg Bowl, which will take place on November 28. Just look at Mississippi State’s uniforms. Hopefully, the profile of this rivalry will continue to increase and it will never be forgotten.

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