Even though Utah football struggled last season, it's still hard not to get excited for the release of the new schedule. It offers new opportunity and hope - especially for a program coming off a losing season.
Today, the Pac-12 released every team's 2013 conference schedule and Utah football, as expected, will have seven home games this year.
Aug. 29 (Thu.) Utah State Salt Lake City
Sept. 7 Weber State Salt Lake City
Sept. 14 Oregon State* Salt Lake City
Sept. 21 at Brigham Young Provo, Utah
Sept. 28 open
Oct. 3 (Thu.) UCLA* Salt Lake City
Oct. 12 Stanford* (h) Salt Lake City
Oct. 19 at Arizona* Tucson, Ariz.
Oct. 26 at USC* Los Angeles
Nov. 2 open
Nov. 9 Arizona State* Salt Lake City
Nov. 16 at Oregon* Eugene, Ore.
Nov. 23 at Washington State* Pullman, Wash.
Nov. 30 Colorado* Salt Lake City
Some things I like:
Playing Arizona State in November. Last year, Utah had to travel down to blistering hot Arizona to take on the Sun Devils. Hopefully when the two meet in Salt Lake toward the end of the year, we can see the direct opposite of that weather wise.
Oregon State early. Why? Because I think we might be able to tell how good this team is going to be without having to wade through a lot of the fluff. Sure, the USU game could tell us a great deal, as it did last season, but beating the Beavers to open Pac-12 play would be pretty significant.
The Thursday night UCLA game ... I'm a stickler for Thursday night football games and the Bruins should be good next season.
The BYU game coming after the Pac-12 opener. Ideally, we'd keep BYU ahead of Weber and then after playing the the Wildcats, jump right into the conference schedule, but this is probably the second best option. The past two seasons, the Utes have opened up conference play the week after the BYU game (well the week after the week in 2011 if you count the bye) and it's proven disastrous each time. Maybe this'll be different with the conference opener behind us and then a bye and then a Thursday night game against the Bruins.
Other than that? We'll have to see how good the Utes are for me to like the rest of the schedule. Playing Oregon late? That'll be interesting only if we're doing something of note.
But I like this schedule. What about you?