That wave of hypocrisy you felt last week originated up north. From Logan, to be specific. From Utah State to be specific-er.
It was heard in press conferences and on the radio leading up to Friday’s game. It was visible in the Aggies’ efforts at Lavell Edwards Stadium. It was a five-day fix of “we want to be on the same level of competition and consideration as our larger, in-state peers.”
Funny how it only goes one way.
It was Utah State, you’ll remember, who did to Utah Valley what they constantly claim to be the victim of: being ignored. This was five months ago, when UVU was being considered by the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies, by far the coolest kid at the WAC table, could have waved in the Wolverines with as much effort as Caesar’s thumb.
And while USU didn’t point its collective thumb downward, doing nothing had the same effect. Utah Valley, with an enrollment of 33,000-plus and climbing, was out. Seattle University, enrollment 10,000-minus, was in.
The reason? Seattle had a big brother, University of Idaho, behind it. UVU pleaded its case without muscle to back it up, making them weak and wanting.
It was a curious cold shoulder from a school that mirrors Utah Valley in so many ways. Aggie fans hate BYU, but not the same way as Utah fans. There’s more bitterness, more helpless hate. They know nearly everyone on the outside looking in simply deems BYU superior in just about every way. Deep down, they probably think the same thing. USU wants to shed that label of inferiority, and they know athletic success would go a long way to doing just that.
It smells like the same recipe of resentment at Utah Valley, albeit with less venom. Utah State should have recognized that, seen the potential anti-BYU ally UVU could have been. The Wolverines and Aggies could have defiantly held their own party on the I-15, publicly pulled the “we don’t need Utah and BYU to have fun” act. In fact, would anything have been greater than a group of Aggie and Wolverine fans buying out an entire section of seats at the Utah-BYU game? They could have rained “we don’t need you” chants, or something equally obnoxious just to tick off their more prestigious peers.
USU, however, thought differently. They considered UVU beneath them, not good enough, not worth consideration.
In other words, Utah State looked at UVU like BYU and Utah look at Utah State. Tired of being loomed over, the Aggies wanted to loom over someone else.
Don’t think the Wolverines won’t hold a grudge, either. I ran into Isiah Williams a few weeks ago, just days after the basketball season schedule was released. I asked him which game he had circled on the calendar, without any thought of what he might say.
His response? Utah State.
At first I thought it was because the Aggie fans, to their credit, are loud and have a way of getting under opponents’ skin. That or because Utah St. was one of the few big programs on the slate. It had already been over two months since the WAC’s denial, and I had moved on.
“They kept us out of the WAC,” Williams said. “We’re going to show them they made a mistake.”
A mistake USU should know from experience not to make.