Utah goes now to the Pac-10.
That's something worth celebrating around here.
But not for the primary reason the school itself is ecstatic.
And it comes with a couple of cautionary notes, too, especially for the Utes and their fans who may be tempted to move their moral point of view, either looking past or buying into the injustices they finally have been able to overcome, and, alongside, the descending knowledge that with every wish comes a curse.
First, the celebration.
Utah will go ahead and get its millions of additional dollars from its new association, taking in more than 10 times what it had been receiving by way of television money as a member of the Mountain West. Add in the other financial bonuses, and administrators are breaking out the Delbeck Brut Vintage.
I couldn't give a rodent's hairy butt about that. The Utes will be richer, good for them. They'll get more prestige and a higher profile, things for them to toast.
But the real reason to celebrate, for one and all, maybe even for BYU fans, is a football schedule every fall that will be filled now with league teams worth watching. The strings of playing San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming are gone. Think about it, when was the last time any Ute fan was truly switched on by a slate of, say, four consecutive conference games?
It's been a long time.
Outside of BYU and TCU, which Mountain West opponent really amped up the football soul?
Last year's home schedule at Rice-Eccles went like this: Utah State (35-17 win) ... zzzzzzz ... Louisville (30-14 win) ... zzzzzzz ... Air Force (23-16 win) ... not bad ... Wyoming (22-10 win) ... zzzzzzz ... New Mexico (45-14 win) ... zzzzzzz ... San Diego State (38-7 win) ... zzzzzzz.
With a version of a Pac-10 schedule that could include some combination of USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, and Arizona, the regular season will be boosted by a serious upgrade in competition, especially taken in the cumulative, week after week after week.
Granted, BYU, TCU, and now Boise State make for a fairly challenging run for any program. But the Utes will get BYU every year, no matter what.
Add in the prospects of playing in the Rose Bowl, as opposed to the Las Vegas Bowl, and football fans in Utah have a reason to party, as long as ...
Here come the warnings.
... the Utes can remain near the top of league standings, in the face of what, in typical years, will be a stiffer challenge. If they lose five games every season, will the enthusiasm of the day be carried? Utah doesn't want to find out.
The Utes rightfully figure their recruiting will improve in their new environs, with access to athletes who once were more difficult for them to land. Add that to the increased budget and profile, along with administrators and coaches in place who seem to know what they're doing, and you figure Utah can keep up.
Still, conference affiliation, in and of itself, brings no guarantees. Arizona, since coming to that league in 1978, has never made it to the Rose Bowl. Arizona State, which dominated the old WAC, has struggled in the Pac-10.
Answer this question: Would the 2008 Utes have gone undefeated with a Pac schedule? It would have been a gas to find out.
We never could uncover with any exactness how great the 2004 Utes were on account of the fact that the Mountain West was a pack of dogs that year. And the BCS stuck them with Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl.
That's no longer a problem.
And that brings with it the final caution here.
Just because the Utes and their fans have bounced out from under past discriminations, will they forget that they are now on the other side of a cartel that still holds other conferences, including their about-to-be-former one, at a ridiculous disadvantage?
Will those concerns and circumstances suddenly be the pitiful concerns and circumstances of others, left to be settled by others? Or will Utes continue to speak out against a system that is unfair, at best, and possibly illegal?
Everyone here can celebrate Utah's good fortune, a football opportunity, and a new opportunity in every sport, available now to anyone who wants to enjoy it. But everyone also should remember the injustices of the Utes' past, and never look beyond those who still suffer from them.
hosts the "Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 1280 AM The Zone. He can be reached at