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Ranking Utah’s 2017 Football Schedule: No. 8 BYU

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BYU v Utah Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Utah at BYU

Saturday, Sept. 9

8:15 p.m. MT

Provo, Utah

I may have pulled the short straw by getting BYU in our countdown, and I’m sure the comments will be totally rational about their placement in our countdown, but alas, here we are. The Kalani Sitake led Cougars, a much more likable group might I add, will be hosting Utah in Provo, Utah on September 9th, the second game of the season, 10 days after North Dakota. This will be the first trip down south for the Utes since 2013, and of course, they’ll be going for their seventh consecutive win in the series, dating back to 2010. Many fans claim that the Cougs are now under the curse of Max Hall, after his famous tirade in 2009, after the last time BYU beat Utah, in overtime.

BYU will be coming into the game after playing LSU down in Houston, and right before playing Wisconsin in Provo. A very solid stretch of games for the boys in blue. They are also returning a very nice squad down there. Starting at QB with Tanner Mangum, someone I have incredible respect for after he’s admitted to having some issues with depression — something I suggest everyone look up and read about. Mangum is a good QB, and I don’t think I can call him much better than that. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, it’s just many of the big throws I’ve seen him complete were basically hail mary type throws, where either a QB misplayed the ball or the WR made a nice play. I just remember in that Vegas Bowl against the Utes, he should have had a lot more INTs.

Behind him at running back is Squally Canada, a transfer for Wazzu, who fumbled the first time he touched the ball in the Vegas Bowl against Utah. Canada is a solid back, but a major step down from Jamal Williams, who was a stud. On the outside, the Utes need to be aware of Jonah Trinnaman, who is a burner and someone Utah was after coming out of Snow. The Cougs have some good possession guys around him, but no one that blows my socks off. The o-line for BYU is experienced, which is a bonus for them, and something Utah will have to contend with, but something Utah’s stacked d-line shouldn’t not be able to handle.

On defense, Sitake has his boys looking pretty good, but the question is depth, and how will the secondary look in year two of his press man system? It will be interesting to see how BYU’s guys handle Utah’s speed, which has been upgraded in the last couple of seasons. I think BYU’s first team guys are good, but once you get past them, can they pick up the slack? BYU was susceptible to giving up a lot of yards last year, and with the new made over passing game (and the addition of some big receivers) I think Utah can burn them through the air.

This is a very interesting game, because on paper Utah has more question marks, but they also have more talent. The question is will that talent gel after just one game going into the game down in Provo? I like Utah’s team a lot better, from top to bottom, but this BYU squad will be good and more experienced. Of course, the Utes, after six straight wins in the series, have the mental edge over BYU, and at some point during the game, will that come into play?

Toughest Games in 2017 Countdown

No. 12 North Dakota

No. 11 San Jose State

No. 10 Arizona

No. 9 Arizona State