Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
BYU vs. Utah: South Jordan is rivalry’s hotbed

South Jordan, in southwest Salt Lake County, is the epicenter of the rivalry between the Utah Utes and the BYU Cougars.

< Previous Page

South Jordan • Choosing his clothing for South Jordan’s Fourth of July patriotic breakfast, City Councilman Mark Seethaler alternates each year between red and blue.

This summer, his selection of a red University of Utah shirt was greeted with derision from a Brigham Young University fan, who said, "That shirt offends me."

At a glance

A little red, a little blue

Former Bingham High School players on the rosters for the rivalry game:

BYU » Austin Holt, tight end; Remington Peck, defensive lineman; Manoa Pikula, linebacker; Iona Pritchard, running back; Justin Sorensen, kicker.

Utah » Tame Fangupo, defensive lineman; Vilisemi Fauonuko, defensive lineman; LT Filiaga, linebacker; Star Lotulelei, defensive lineman.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Retelling the story, Seethaler said, "I laughed. He didn’t."

Welcome to the epicenter of the rivalry, the one town in Utah that appears evenly divided between the schools that will stage their traditional football meeting Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. That’s judging by displays of loyalties, the players involved in a church football competition and an office that annually stages the state’s most elaborate rivalry pranks.

"Walking down the hall Friday, I’m sure I’ll see 20 Utah shirts to 20 BYU shirts," said Austin Weeks, sports editor of Bingham High School’s newspaper, The Prospector.

Similar stories are told about neighborhoods and even households in South Jordan, a town of about 55,000 residents in the southwestern corner of Salt Lake County — 19 miles from the Utah campus and 31 miles from BYU.

The loyalty split "really is … half-half," said former Bingham player Star Lotulelei, Utah’s outstanding defensive lineman. He should know, originally having signed with BYU.

Numbers back up the anecdotal evidence. Nine ex-Bingham Miners will compete Saturday, five for BYU and four for Utah. In South Jordan’s 84095 ZIP code, Utah lists 280 season-ticket accounts to BYU’s 235 (each representing multiple seats).

South Jordan’s divide makes it clear that the rivalry’s boundaries are not easily defined. Point of the Mountain is not a true line of demarcation because the Utes have 15 season-ticket accounts in Orem. Membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns BYU, is not always a defining characteristic, either. Otherwise, the Glenmoor 4th Ward could not conduct its annual flag football game during rivalry week, pitting Utah devotees vs. BYU fans.

They take the rivalry seriously in South Jordan, where the residents are "the nicest people," Seethaler said, "but you wouldn’t always appreciate that for the instant intolerance" of fans in opposing colors.

story continues below
story continues below

Asked to confirm the town’s split, Allison Peterson nodded. "It’s divided in my very own house," she said. "My boys, unfortunately, have gone with their dad."

She likes BYU; husband Tyler favors Utah. The Petersons have Ute season tickets, but when Utah faces Pac-12 teams, "I don’t cheer," Allison said. "I just sit there."

On Saturday morning, she was photographing her sons Tate and Davis, among the hundreds of aspiring Bingham Miners playing for youth football teams. Five fields were in use at South Jordan City Park, where former Ute running back Eddie Lewis was watching his son, Raymond.

"You do get both teams’ fans right here," Lewis said. "It’s all fun. Everybody loves to talk football. This is where I see a lot of my ‘Y’ friends."

Bingham’s football community may bring fans of each school together, but the antics at the Lendio headquarters in South Jordan definitely pit them against one another. The series of pranks began in 2009, when the office of company CEO Brock Blake was painted red.

He responded the next year by turning a Ute fan’s Jaguar into a BYU shrine. Last September, when a strip of grass in the office was designed like BYU’s field, Ute fans unleashed several goats on it.

This week, emboldened by last September’s 54-10 victory, the Ute fans maintained their intensity. A 25-foot, inflatable Utah player appeared in the parking lot, preceding visits by the Ute mascot and a couple of cheerleaders. The company’s Cougar fans undoubtedly will respond.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.