Pac-12: November schedule loaded for Utes
Published: January 8, 2014 04:08PM
Updated: January 8, 2014 11:42PM

Utah will face Arizona State and Stanford, last year’s Pac-12 division winners, and Oregon in a three-week November stretch that likely will define the Utes’ third season of conference membership.

The Pac-12’s 2014 football schedule, announced Wednesday, places all nine of Utah’s league games after its nonconference games against Idaho State, Fresno State and Michigan. The Utes will open Pac-12 play Sept. 27 against Washington State, then visit UCLA and Oregon State before settling into a home-away pattern for the remaining schedule.

For the third straight year, Utah will be involved in the Pac-12’s Thursday package, facing OSU. This is the second season of a two-year scheduling rotation, so the Utes again will miss Washington and California. Oregon will make its first appearance at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Pac-12 play, Nov. 8.

Other highlights of the Pac-12 schedule:

• The second Saturday of the season, Sept. 6, features two high-profile games: Michigan State at Oregon, in a meeting of probable Top 10 teams, and USC at Stanford, giving the defending champion Cardinal a chance to avenge one of their two conference losses from 2013.

• UCLA plays two marquee games in September, meeting Texas in Arlington (Sept. 13) and traveling to Arizona State in a Thursday (Sept. 25) meeting of the likely top two preseason picks in the South.

• Stanford’s visit to Oregon, expected to decide the North title again, is booked Saturday, Nov. 1.

• The conference is allowing for the possibility of UCLA and Stanford meeting in consecutive weeks, if those teams win their divisions — as happened in 2012. The Pac-12’s athletic directors agreed to that intra-divisional game on the final weekend of the regular season, preserving the window for the annual rivalry games between USC/Stanford and Notre Dame and preventing a potential Pac-12 championship game contestant from having a bye the previous week.

• Former Utah assistant Jay Hill will make his Weber State coaching debut Aug. 28 at Arizona State and BYU will help conclude the Pac-12’s regular season, visiting California on Nov. 29.

— Kurt Kragthorpe