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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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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah State Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton (16) controlling the offense on a touchdown drive as the University of Utah hosts Utah State, college football Thursday, August 29, 2013 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Utah football: AD Hill says U. wants to figure out USU game, but it’s tricky

For agreeing to play a home-and-home against Northern Illinois in 2018 and 2019, Utah will receive ... the opportunity to play Northern Illinois in 2018 and 2019.

Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill told The Tribune on Monday afternoon that NIU did not provide Utah any special incentive — financial or otherwise — to visit DeKalb in 2018. Rather, the Huskies provide Utah with the type of respectable-but-beatable opponent that Utah is looking to add each year in addition to an FCS opponent.

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"This year’s schedule is really, really hard," said Hill of a slate that one ESPN insider rated as the toughest in the nation. "... We want to balance a competitive schedule with getting wins and building confidence."

The obvious question as Utah’s schedule fills in: Where’s Utah State? The Utes don’t have any games scheduled against the Aggies after next year’s game in Salt Lake City, and if they choose to play BYU or another opponent in 2019, then they would have to buy out of a game to play Utah State before 2020.

"We want to try to figure it out," Hill said. "... We’re the only school in the country that plays nine league games and two in-state rivals. ... Part of it is, it’s just more difficult than people think."

­— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper



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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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