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Is BYU Utah’s main football rival anymore? Kyle Whittingham had some thoughts on that

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and BYU’s Kalani Sitake will lead their football teams into a matchup on Sept. 11.
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake shake hands after the game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Utah won 20-19.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

It’s been said that for a rivalry to be a rivalry, things have to be pretty even.

Since 2010, such has not been the case when it comes to the BYU Cougars versus the Utah Utes in football, as the Utes have won nine straight contests.

But is BYU still Utah’s main rival?

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was interviewed as part of Pac-12 media day by FOX Sports’ RJ Young (all 12 conference coaches and each team’s two player reps — Utah was represented by Devin Lloyd and Britain Covey — were also interviewed, so the conversations were very centered on the Pac-12. Lloyd and Covey start at about the 1:08:40 mark, and Whittingham is immediately after).

The first questions were about topics Whittingham has answered numerous times over the years, such as his program’s recruiting philosophy. Then it shifted into some fun ones, like what Whittingham’s last job was before he got into coaching (working at a pizza joint) and what character from a fictional football movie he would add to his roster if he could (Paul Crewe from “The Longest Yard,” played by Burt Reynolds).

Young then asked, “Can you tell us three nice things about your rival?”

The conversation from there:

Whittingham: “Uh, who’s our rival? We got rivals in conference, we got rivals out of the conference.”

Young: “You know doggone well I’m talkin’ about BYU.”

Whittingham: “Oh, the in-state game. OK, gotcha.”

After Young laughed, Whittingham said, “Well, the dynamic has changed so much.”

Young: “Really?”

Whittingham: “Yeah, because they’re no longer in the same conference. We were in the same conference for ... ever. You know, 60, 70, 80 years. I can’t remember what it was, so it’s changed, and we’ve started to develop a little bit of a rivalry with USC, Colorado, Arizona State.

“I mean, there’s just been some things that are starting to materialize inside the Pac-12, and so that’s why I asked that question.”

Young: “I get you, coach.”

Whittingham: “Yeah, let’s skip to the next question.”

Young laughed, and Whittingham said, “’Cause I don’t know how to address it. I don’t know which way to go with it.”

Young: “OK, that’s fair. That’s fair.”

The last question was a look at an all-time Pac-12 team.

The Utes and Cougars are scheduled to face each other on Sept. 11 at BYU.