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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Schedule for 2014 will be a huge challenge for the Utes

Kudos to the Utah Utes for not taking the easy way out in creating their future football schedules. Normally teams in the 'big leagues,' so to speak, shy away from scheduling difficult non-conference games in seasons that have plenty of challenges with conference opponents.

With Thursday's announcement that the Utes have scheduled a home-and-home series with Michigan starting in 2014 with a trip to Ann Arbor, one has to wonder if coach Kyle Whittingham's brain hasn't gotten a little fried from all that bikram yoga he has been doing. Why else on earth would he agree to such a challenge in a year when the Utes already are scheduled to play five conference road games?

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The Pac-12 opponents for that year will be Arizona, ASU, Colorado, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington.

Where and when those games will be played has yet to be announced, but anyway you look at it the Utes will have their biggest challenge yet as a team.

Utah athletic director Chris Hill was out of town due to a death in the family and unavailable for comment, but in speaking to him last week, he was excited about the BCS move to a 4-team playoff.

"I'd like to think it would give us a chance to play for a national championship," he said.

Certainly no one will be able to fault Utah's schedule if they are in the mix for such a chance come 2014.

Looking ahead, the Utes should be in good shape roster-wise for that season.

Freshman Travis Wilson, who came on strong in spring ball and could give junior quarterback Jordan Wynn a run for his money in fall camp, seems to be the guy who will run the offense that season.

Other key offensive players, such as tight end Jake Murphy, receivers Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott and running back Harvey Langi, will also be on that roster.

Last year the Big Ten and Pac-12 agreed to a football arrangement that would have the conferences playing each other by 2017.

Hill had expressed a desire to start that series sooner rather than later. He delivered his part of the bargain. Now, do you think the Utes will be able to deliver on the field?

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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