Date & Time: September 27, 2008, 6:00 MST
Radio: KALL 700
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
All-time series: Utah leads 2-0
Last meeting: 1984, Utah 52, Weber State 16
Utah will look to build on its best start of the Whittingham era this Saturday, when they host former head coach Ron McBride and his Weber State Wildcats. It will mark the first meeting between the two teams since 1984, and McBride's first official appearance as coach since November 2002, his last game -- a victory over BYU -- at Utah before being fired.
The Wildcats are a member of the FCS, so they are a big step down from the Utes. They have already played a team from Utah's division, losing at Hawaii 36-17 earlier this year. However, Weber State is 3-1 and will be fired up to play McBride's former employer.
On paper, the Wildcats very well could be the most outgunned team the Utes face this season. But that doesn't mean the Utes will have an easy path to victory. These games can't be expected to generate the type of excitement fans saw last week, but they do offer lose-lose prospects. Victories over FCS teams are far from impressive, even if the team dominates every facet of the game. But if it's close, or worse, a loss, then people take notice. That is what Utah faces this Saturday, trying to not make headlines as Michigan did last year when they were defeated, at home, by Appalachian State. Chances of that happening are slim, but even ugly victories over FCS teams can cost you in the polls.
So Utah enters this game knowing they have little to gain outside of a near-automatic victory and a chance to play possible starters next year, especially quarterbacks Corbin Louks and Chad Manis. If they see play to start the third, it means the Utes have done what they needed to do. If they're still not in by the fourth, Utah could be in trouble, as they may not have the game in hand by the time the final quarter rolls around. That, though, seems unlikely.
Even though McBride has been capable of getting his teams up to play big games, the Wildcats have a very slim chance of victory here. The talent gap between the two teams is just too wide and it will take far more than Utah just playing down to their competition to lose this game.
Weber may give Utah a scare in the first five or so minutes, but after that, I believe it will be all down hill. The Utes won't demolish them like they could, Whittingham has too much respect for McBride to do that, but I expect a decisive victory and hopefully that's what the fans get. Utah wins 48-7