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FAN SETS INSTATE RECORDS STRAIGHT

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If college rivalries are measured by the lengths fans go to trivialize them, give Utah's intrastate rivalries involving Utah, Utah State and BYU a jump on the field. A fan of the Big Three named Orvill Paller, Jr., recently finished a three year labor of love, research and insomnia and has emerged with a yet-to-be-published book entitled (aptly enough): Instate Wars: Football and Basketball Between Utah State, Utah, and BYU.

The manuscript is 449 pages long and it includes the stats and rosters of every football and basketball game ever played between the Aggies, Cougars and Utes - all 857 of them. (For the record, there have been 624 intrastate basketball games and 233 football games). If they played it, it's in Paller's book. If they didn't, it isn't. He'd stake his reputation as a sports historian on it.Paller started his project innocently enough three years ago when he was confused by the conflicting reports from the University of Utah and BYU concerning the official all-time won-lost basketball record for the two rivals. According to Utah's archives, the Utes had a small edge while according to BYU's records, it was the Cougars with more lifetime wins.

This discrepancy came as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Utah-BYU relationship, where agreement on anything doesn't exactly come with the territory. But to Paller, who acquired a minor in history from BYU in 1971, that wasn't good enough. He had to know the truth, even if it was the Cougars who were mistaken. He turned to the unblinking objectivity of newspaper microfilm.

When he emerged from his mission, squinting, Paller had discovered this: "There were discrepancies both ways," he said. "They both had made mistakes."

Armed with his evidence, Paller contacted officials at the sports information offices at both BYU and the University of Utah, who summarily agreed that he was right and they were, well, not right.

"How are you going to argue with some guy who spent three years researching this stuff" asked Bruce Woodbury, Utah's director of athletic media relations. "We're buying everything Orvill has given us."

Woodbury means that literally, since the Utes parted with $40 the other day for one of the specially bound limited edition manuscripts Paller is selling. He has 200 of these collector's items for print. Utah bought No. 71. BYU got No. 72. The Aggies got No. 59.

"Each manuscript is numbered and the price includes an update 10 years from now," said Paller, already aware that his research will be incomplete as soon as football season gets underway this fall and more intrastate games assume their place in history.For now, though, the results are cast in bonded type paper.

In football, Utah has a 61-26-4 all-time edge on Utah State and a 43-27-4 edge on BYU while the BYU-Utah State series favors BYU by a single game, 33-32-3.

In basketball, Utah leads Utah State 120-84 and trails BYU 109-102 while BYU has a 126-83 all-time edge over Utah State.

As the above records suggest, Paller shouldn't figure on selling a lot of books in Logan. The Aggies are behind in every series and have lost 340 football and basketball games to the Utes and Cougars over the years while winning just 225. BYU's all-time intrastate record is 295-260-7 while the record for Utah - the state's sports bully - is 326-246-8.

With the exception of the Utah State-BYU football series, Paller found discrepancies in every other "official" all-time account, including the well-publicized Utah-BYU football standings. Both schools have historically noted that the first game between the two took place in 1922, but Paller discovered six additional games that were played between the schools in the 1890s.

"It turns out they won three each," he said. "So it doesn't really change the 16-game differential between the two."

There were wrinkles to iron out during the research, as Paller noted. One of the most confusing was distinguishing between B.Y. College, a school located in Logan in the early 1900s, from the B.Y. Academy, the forerunner to BYU located in Provo.

"Big mess there," said Paller. "Utah State got them mixed up - 1913 turned out to be a real hangup year."

But now, after 80 years, 1913 has been straightened out. So have a number of other years and assorted pressbook typographical errors.

Paller speaks with the confirmed satisfaction of a bookkeeper who knows the records are straight. He has brought order to a part of the universe. He can rest easier. It's all over, even the arguing, at least with Paller. He wrote the book.