SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: Notre Dame Stadium is seen while the Notre Dame Fighting Irish play the Michigan State Spartans during the first half September 17, 2011at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 31-13. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
Utah probably doesn't schedule a team of Michigan's caliber without Pac-12 affiliation, so, it's safe to say that the program is already benefiting nationally from its current affiliation. Hopefully in the coming years, we exploit our conference and schedule some equally impressive programs during future seasons.
With growing uncertainty as to whether or not the BYU game will ever consistently fill up Utah's schedules in the future, the Utes are now in position to really broaden the depth of teams that might make up future schedules. That's a good thing. Because there are only twelve regular season games, more than half of which are conference games, the odds of playing an upper level program, a historically rich school, are just not very good. Most teams are limited in their scheduling accessibility and it means, during any given season, most the heavy hitters of college football will not cross paths. For lesser programs like Utah, who rarely if ever have been able to schedule home games against these elite teams, the chances are even slimmer.
So, I concede that we're unlikely to get every team on our wish list. Alabama is not coming to Utah. Hell, Alabama is unlikely to go to South Central to take on USC. But there are programs, some at the Michigan level both historically and presently, that might make the trek to Salt Lake City.
I hope in the coming years, especially with strength of schedule being used in the playoff formula, that this is the case.
Now I know the Pac-12 still might continue its deal with the Big 10 and that means we're likely to see some Big 10 programs roll through Salt Lake. I'm fine with that. The possibility of Iowa or Wisconsin or Penn State joining Michigan in a journey out here would be epic. Those are some programs I'd love to play at home. But I also hope we can expand our scope a bit to other programs - maybe bring in Oklahoma State (Arizona did) or Texas (Utah actually had 'em scheduled in a two-for-one years ago). The program I'd like to see the most, though, is Notre Dame. Not only because I grew up an Irish fan as a kid, but because we owe them for 2010.
So, even including the potential Big 10/Pac-12 scheduling deal, who else would you like to see travel here? I'd love Urban Meyer and Ohio State to play at Rice-Eccles and who knows, maybe that's something that gets done, since Urban and Kyle are besties forever.
What about you?