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Previewing Utah Football’s Upcoming Non-conference schedules

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Michigan v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

I’ve seen some news in the Twittersphere about various schools looking to schedule each other in non-conference tilts, so I deceided to take a look at some of Utah’s non-con opponnents that they have under contract in the coming years.

Here is what Utah has inked thus far:

2018:
Northern Illinois
Weber State
BYU

2019:
BYU
Northern Illinois
Idaho State

2020:
BYU
Montana State
Wyoming

2021:
Weber State
BYU
San Diego State

2022:
BYU
Southern Utah
San Diego State

2023:
Baylor

2024:
Southern Utah
Baylor

2025:
Wyoming

Now, at first glance at that, that’s a pretty soft non-conference schedule, which overall I’m ok with, but I want to see things bulked up just a little bit. When you play nine league games, like the Pac-12 does, there are a lot of tough games that Utah has to play year in and year out. For that reason, you don’t want to over schedule and beat yourself up before you get into the important part of the schedule. It’s a difficult balancing act, and one I don’t envy for Utah’s AD.

Under Chris Hill, Utah was about have a A, B and C level opponent each year. An “A” level opponent is either BYU or another Power 5 opponent. A “B” level opponent being like a MWC school, or like NIU this coming season. Lastly, a “C” level opponent is usually an FCS foe like Weber State. Basically, Utah is looking for one really challenging non-con opponent each season, which in theory, they’re doing. However, Utah’s seperation from BYU on the field, talent wise, is making the current scheduling agreement a little obsolete. Now, I don’t want to dive into the “should they-shouldn’t they” schedule BYU topic in this write up, because that’s a different topic altogther, but my thoughts overall is that it shouldn’t be a yearly matchup, similar to USU or other in state schools. I’d like to see a strong Power-5 opponent at least every other year, like an Iowa, Ok State, TCU or someone like that each year in the place of a yearly BYU game.

Dr. Hill also didn’t like doing neutral site games against big name opponents, as he’s stated he’s turned down opportunities in the past, because he wants that home game. It’ll be interesting to see if the next AD thinks the same way. I’d like maybe every few years, in a 7 home game season, if Utah used one of those as a neutral site game, or if they could swing one of the road games during any season as neutral site, that’d be a win.

I do think it’s cool to schedule the old MWC foes, and have them be B games each year. Those are some good teams, especially SDSU, they’ve really turned into a MWC/Group of 5 contender since Utah left the league. Wyoming is a great opponent, I’d also like to see CSU, but we need to stay away from Air Force and New Mexico, since they’re those terrible triple option teams.

One opponent that stands out on the future schedule is Baylor. Baylor was a Big 12 power for about a decade, but the major scandles on campus has decimated the program. Some fans may want to cancel this series due to the allegations against the Bears, but when Dr. Hill put this game on the books he had the right idea in mind.

I think that 2015 schedule was a pretty good model for Utah. They opened with Michigan, played a solid Utah State team, and then wrapped up with Fresno State. Something similar to that each each would be ideal for Utah, as they launch into a tough Pac-12 schedule where the teams always beat each other up.

What are your thoughts on possible non-conference scheduling? Do you think Utah should step it up a bit more?