Football is just around the corner with fall camp for Utah starting in exactly a week. With how much the college football landscape has changed over the last five or so years, traditional rivalries go away and new ones are formed. We thought before we delve into the nitty gritty during football season it would be fun to take a look at three teams Utah could become rivals with.
TCU - The New Kids at the Power Five Table
Utah and TCU both spent time together in the Mountain West Conference before each bolted to the greener pastures of Power Five conferences (with Utah to the Pac-12 and TCU to the Big XII). The Utah-TCU games from 2008-2010 was a matchup between highly ranked teams each year and was the site of College Gameday in 2009 and 2010. After leaving the Mountain West, the two teams have not played each other. Both teams had an adjustment period in the new conferences, but they have both seen success the last two seasons. Utah and TCU are the poster children for teams making the jump from a Group of Five conference to a Power Five conference, and with their history in the Mountain West, it would be exciting to see these two teams play each other at least somewhat regularly again.
Miami - The Battle to be the Real "The U"
Both Utah and Miami have a U as their logo, and both are known as the U. Even each team’s SBNation site references a U, with Block U for Utah and State of the U for Miami. Fans can quibble on the internet about who the real "the U," but wouldn’t it be nice if it was settled on the field? Imagine the awesome "The U" trophy that could be played for in this possible rivalry, and remember, trophies without question are an important part of any good rivalry. There are further connections between Utah and Miami as well. Former Miami head coach Dennis Erickson (who led Miami to national titles in 1989 and 1991) is now the assistant head coach at Utah. With Erickson’s connections in South Florida, Utah has been recruiting the Sunshine State harder than ever and have pulled multiple recruits out of the Miami area (so this could really help Utah with recruiting if it actually happened). Speaking honestly, I think if you asked most college football fans who they felt was "The U" most would say Miami. They have more NFL players than Utah and have won five national championships (compared to zero for Utah). However, if Utah could beat Miami a few times on the field, it could help establish Utah as "The U."
Florida (or Bowling Green) - The Urban Meyer Left Us
Utah has no real connection to Florida (or Bowling Green) other than Urban Meyer coached at all these schools before eventually leaving for Ohio State. Florida is a nationally relevant team, who has not played a nonconference game outside the state of Florida since playing at Syracuse in 1991 (though they will play Michigan in a neutral site game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in 2017). It would be huge college football news if Utah could somehow get the Gators to travel to the west for a nonconference game. Count this as a rivalry that would never happen but would be fun if it did.
Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on these hypothetical rivalries or with any other interesting ones you can think of.