The Utes kick off the second half of the season much differently than they opened - with a formidable opponent.
Which will probably tell us what to expect from Utah in the next six games. That's important, because as I mentioned earlier today, I don't think we quite know yet what to expect from these Utes. Though they are 5-1, they've pretty much won the games they should have won and lost the lone game most expected them to lose.
So why are the Falcons different? Well for starters, they're a winning team. Granted, it's only by a sliver, but Utah hasn't faced a winning team at all this season (Oregon was 1-1 when they played). That will prove to be a challenge, especially when you realize Air Force has been in all three losses this season.
They can walk into Rice-Eccles and beat the Utes. That needs to be on Utah's minds as they face the Falcons, or this is a game that could be lost.
But a victory would be huge. It would be huge because the Utes would automatically be bowl eligible only seven games into the season. With how they had struggled to put together consistency during much of the pre-2008 Whittingham era, it would be nice to be secured this early in the season.
Beyond that, though, it will provide them the opportunity to establish a winning streak and gain a victory over a competent opponent. No more lackluster efforts against lackluster teams. If they go out there, specifically if they dominate Saturday, it will be a good win. It will give them confidence heading into the final stretch and most likely prove to be the difference between contending for a conference championship and just hoping to finish in the top-three.
Now it's time to define this season. Victories like this will do just that and set the course for either a solid rebuilding campaign or one wrought with struggle.