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Utah-BYU football set for the future

Published September 22, 2013 2:20 pm

Scheduling • For next two years, only possible meeting is bowl matchup.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said this week that two years to a football coach was like an eternity.

It's likely many Utah and BYU fans who cherish the in-state rivalry feel the same as the Utes and Cougars aren't scheduled to play again until Sept. 10, 2016.

By then, quarterbacks Taysom Hill and Travis Wilson will have graduated, barring an unforeseen situation, coaching personnel could change and perhaps BYU will be moving into a conference.

Those hoping the two teams will continue to meet only have a sliver of a chance of that happening.

There is the possibility a bowl game such as the Las Vegas Bowl or Humanitarian Bowl could match up the rivals.

Such a meeting would be a popular one for fans and profitable for the bowl games.

Utah athletic director Chris Hill acknowledged meeting the Cougars in the postseason would be a new twist for the old foes.

"There are the Pac-12 arrangements first," Hill said. "But [playing BYU in a bowl] would be really different and be kind of fun."

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe was unavailable for media interviews Saturday.

Barring such an arrangement, though, Utah fans will have to make do with playing Michigan while BYU fans can look forward to a rematch with Texas next year and games at Nebraska and Michigan in 2015.

Playing at Michigan in 2014 and hosting the Wolverines in 2015 is an enticing arrangement that probably lessens the disappointment of not having the Cougars on the schedule for Utah fans.

The matchup developed in part because the Pac-12 and Big Ten had planned to schedule games starting in 2017. Those plans never developed due to scheduling issues for Pac-12 teams, but the Utes and Wolverines kept their agreement.

"Having them at our place, that is going to be exciting," Hill said. "Six years ago, who would have thought that could happen, but in scheduling everything changes so fast. I guess if Urban [Meyer] called, we'd play Ohio State."

Instead of thinking of the future, Hill said he wanted to enjoy Saturday's game for what it is, emphasizing the two schools have a good relationship despite what some might think.

The Utah-BYU rivalry has had its heated moments, as witnessed by the events of this week. There was a video of a mock baptism by Utah players angering some BYU fans and emails between Utah to BYU's compliance office relating to the suspension of BYU's Spencer Hadley that upset fans on both sides.

While the compliance offices were simply following protocol, the emotions vented illustrated the rivalry is as hot as ever for many fans.

"There is a certain camp that thinks it might be good to take a break and others like the way it is," Hill said. "Things aren't going to change though, everyone keeps their opinion."