Colorado and Utah’s forced rivalry could blossom into real hatred

There was a time -- mostly when leather helmets were fashionable -- when Colorado and Utah hated each other. The two teams battled nearly every year from 1903-1962 and it was one of the most heated rivalries in the Rockies.

Fast forward nearly 50 years and Colorado and Utah have been forced to renew that rivalry in a setup of newcomers to the Pac-12. Every other Pac-12 team already had a team to hate, so Utah and Colorado were paired on the Friday after Thanksgiving to give the day a little verve for both teams.

"I think a rivalry takes time to build," Utah athletic director Chris Hill told the Boulder Daily Camera during the Pac-12's spring meetings in Seattle last week. "The back to the future people will tell you that 40 years ago it used to be a rivalry. The nice thing is we have a chance, and it's not going to happen overnight, but Colorado and Utah have a nice ring. They are Rocky Mountain schools in similar environments.

"It will grow, but it doesn't become that overnight. That's what rivalries are."

Of course, it's a far cry from the rivalries both teams are giving up that weekend. Colorado traditionally played Nebraska on Thanksgiving weekend, though to be fair, the rivalry has been one-sided for quite some time. And while Colorado might see Nebraska as a rival, Nebraska would argue that its rival is Oklahoma (and Oklahoma would claim Texas).

Utah and BYU constitute one of the fiercest rivalries around. And while the game will still be played on Sept. 17 this year, having the game early in the season doesn't seem to evoke the same type of emotion as playing in the final regular season game -- often for the conference title.

But you won't hear either school complain about the change because overall, the pros of joining the Pac-12 and rekindling a flamed-out rivalry far outweigh the cons.

Even though the game is still months away, Hill is already getting into the rivalry spirit.

"I've just learned to not like black and gold very much," Hill said. "I've gotten rid of all my gold or whatever they call that color. We don't like Buffaloes. We think the humane society should be upset about what they do with their mascot."