That was the year that the USU Aggies beat BYU and went on to the Vegas bowl, which by Aggie Football standards was a pretty exciting year and I was on the sidelines for all of it. I covered every home game for the Statesman, the student newspaper. I was there for the Coach's gatorade bath at the BYU game, the road trip to Vegas, the Imperial Palace, Jerry Tarkanian's night club (where IÂ met Evander Holyfield in the bathroom) and so believe me, IÂ know the the coach's name is not Mike Weatherbie. It's Charlie. Charlie Weatherbie. No idea where Mike came from, although it does sound more "coachy" than Charlie. That's all I got.
Please forgive me my fellow Aggies. I will make sure a correction appears in our next issue. And please, please stop calling me.
Here's the column in all it's glory, with the offending "Mike" cut out.
The Frozen Tundra
It was my first-ever college football game. Cougar Stadium. Utes battling the hated Cougars. The Holy War. I was 12 years old, in the nosebleed seats, way above on the 40-yard line. And. I. Was. Miserable.
This game would go down in the history books as the "Snow Bowl," and I can tell you it lived up to its legendary moniker. Sitting there in that blizzard, I decided then and there that the 60,000 people crowding Cougar Stadium were 60,000 lunatics.
Teeth chattering, I begged my father to go home, but he was equally trapped, having accepted a ride from a rabid Ute-fan who was not leaving until the final second. And, because I was with my Dad, I was dressed totally wrong, sneakers, jeans, a thin windbreaker between me and the steady deluge of wet, early season snow falling in my lap. How had my mother let me leave the house like this? And where was my mother? Oh, Yeah. Home. Warm. Not freezing in Provo. Apparently BYU won, on a tragically missed Utah field goal. My hypothermic brain could not have cared less.
But in my sophomore year at Utah State, I came around. I was a photographer for the student paper and that fall I spent every game day at Romney Stadium. That season was one my favorite college memories. I remember the leaves, the crisp air, the impossibly blue skies, the sounds of the band and the crowd and the crunch of the helmets mingled with the baritone of the in-stadium announcer. Oh. I get it now. Football. I never did fall in love with the minutia, the stats, the rosters and all that, but I fell in love with the pageantry. The spectacle. The gathering. I was there when USU, under coach CHARLIE Weatherbie, did the impossible (which if you know anything about Aggie Football, you understand) and beat BYU.
And since, I've kept up, transferring my miniscule loyalty from the Aggies to the Utes. I cursorily follow the scores and work to get to as many games as possible at Rice-Eccles to tap into those wonderful memories of college and make new ones under still- impossibly blue skies of fall, now punctuated with Ute Red instead of Aggie Blue. So it bums me out that the great game, the great Holy War is changing after this year when the Utes leave it behind for the new PAC 10. Our story ("The Holy War is Over," page 68) looks back at the rivalry over the years and examines how the deal that will change football in Utah went down.
And this year, I'll be at the BYU-Utah game knowing it's the last one that counts. But if it snows? I'm outta there.
Jeremy Pugh, Salt Lake magazine editor