An intrepid Utah Utes fan set up a GoFundMe page to raise $15,300 to have “UTAH” signage installed on Rice-Eccels Stadium’s north fieldhouse. In just 18 hours, the Utah GoFundMe project has raised almost $7,000 (as of this writing).
It’s not so much the page itself that piqued my interest, however, as it is “who” is donating.
It starts innocuously enough. The older donations visible in the timeline are either from anonymous benefactors or supporters offering a generic “Go Utes!” But, if you doubt the animus that runs between Utah and BYU — I contend it’s one of the more vitriolic rivalries in college sports — consider an avalanche of joke donors began with a subtle Bronco Mendenhall shot.
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe is name-checked:
And the shrapnel is now hitting other members of the Pac-12. Utah’s 3-0 record against the conference’s California team gets a mention:
So, too, does the Utes’ 10-sack night against UCLA:
Utah’s win in the Rose Bowl last October gave rise to the nickname “Sack Lake City” for the Ute front seven.
Now, there’s no question Utah’s rival is BYU, even if the programs aren’t playing this season. The Utes are paired with Colorado on Rivalry Week in a series dubbed “The Rumble in the Rockies,” but the feud has yet to take shape.
Utah’s more organic rival just might be Oregon State. The Beavers and Utes have engaged in some wildly entertaining contests the last two years, with the road team escaping with a nip-tuck win each time.
When Oregon State visits Rice-Eccles Stadium on Halloween, it marks the return of one-time Ute assistant Gary Andersen, who is not immune to the slings of the Utah GoFundMe campaign:
Andersen hired away defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake in the offseason.
Jokes aside, fan-operated GoFundMe projects might take off if this one is successful, and we see that UTAH signage plastered across the fieldhouse come fall.