This week on Know Your Foe we learn all about Michigan's upcoming game against the Utah Utes. This game is clearly the best Pac 12 vs Big Ten matchup of the season and could easily be a preview of this year's
Rose Holiday Bowl. So ignore the Tigers playoff race, forget about the Lions and turn all your attention to the matchup in Ann Arbor. It's time to Know Your Foe: Utah Utes Edition.
- Utah is the 45th State of the United States and is one of the easiest States to draw on a piece of paper. Rumor is people from Utah carry around a piece of cardboard shaped like the state to show people where they live on the state, much like Michiganders use their hand as a map of Michigan. This rumor is unconfirmed.
- Utah is home to the questionably named Great Salt Lake. After all, even the least Great of the Great lakes is filled with fresh water which is still better than salt water. Maybe it should be called the Salt Lake of Relative Greatness
- The University of Utah was founded in 1850 under the name University of Deseret. The name was changed in 1892, four years before Utah became a state. In that same time frame, Michigan Football had six undefeated seasons.
- The University of Utah is located in Salt Lake City, which is the capital and most populated city in Utah. It is also home to the Utah Jazz, drafters of Michigan's own Trey Burke. Sent there by the NBA as a double agent for Michigan, Burke's intel on the Utes will be invaluable for the matchup on Saturday.
- The University of Utah has a well known landmark called the Block U (not to be confused with the SBNation blog of the same name). This giant U overlooks the campus and lights up in different styles depending on the outcome of athletic events, which is actually pretty awesome. Am I jealous? No. Do I respect it? Yes.
- Notable Alumni from the University of Utah include various scientists, politicians and businessmen of various degrees of pedigree yet none I have actually heard of... The list can be found here so maybe you'll recognize more than I did.
- Notable Sports-Related Alumni include Alex and Steve Smith (no relation). Alex Smith is best known as being a total flop of a number 1 pick before being good for like two and a half years before reverting to form with Kansas City. Steve Smith is actually a pretty good receiver who is best known for pissing off fantasy football players who drafted Torrey Smith... like me.
- The official colors of the Utah Utes are Crimson and White. That's basically half Ohio State, half Michigan State. Ewwww.
- The official fight song of the Utah Utes is the "Utah Man." The song had been a center of controversy for years before finally being changed for 2014. The biggest change altered the line "Our Co-Eds are the fairest" to "Our students are the finest." The real question is whether they changed because of correctness or if the Co-Eds have decreased in fairness since the song was written to the point where the claim can no longer be made.
- The Ute nickname comes from the Utah Ute tribe and is used with full respect and permission. Interestingly enough, the University cared enough to change its fight song for political correctness to change its fight song but not change the women's team name from Lady Utes. According to the University of Utah, a Ute does not naturally come in lady form (see my piece on Tennessee).
- The University of Utah Women's Gymnastic Team is called the "Red Rocks" as opposed to the Utes. I do not know why...
- Up until 1972 the University of Utah used Redskins interchangeably with Utes but changed it because it was thought to be offensive. If you are keeping track, that is two weeks in a row that the Michigan has played a school with more racial sensitivity then the NFL.
- The current mascot of the University of Utah is Swoop, a red-tailed hawk. Like the name, the mascot has changed over the years from a Native American, to Hoyo (a cartoon Native American), to the Crimson Warrior (like the FSU guy but with a lance instead of flaming spear) until finally arriving at Swoop.
- Finally the Utah Utes have played the Wolverines twice, once in 2002 and once in 2008. Lloyd Carr won the first matchup 10-7 as the third win of a 10-3 campaign, while Rich Rod started his Michigan career with a 25-23 loss that kicked off a disastrous 3-9 year. Saturday is the tiebreaker. Go Blue.