Utah books Arkansas for a football series, bringing the first SEC team to Rice-Eccles Stadium

(L.G. Patterson | AP file photo) Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey, left, throws a pass before he is hit by Missouri's Chris Turner, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. Utah has agreed to a home-and-home series with Arkansas, beginning in 2026.

Utah will bring a Southeastern Conference football opponent to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the first time in September 2026, having agreed to a home-and-home series with Arkansas, Ute athletic director Mark Harlan announced Wednesday.

The Utes will visit Arkansas in 2028. The series gives Utah another set of games against a Power Five opponent in the upcoming decade, along with a 2023-24 series vs. Baylor.

Utah played Texas A&M in Salt Lake City 2004, when the Aggies were Big 12 members, but never has hosted a team that belonged to the SEC at the time.

"We will continue to look at the premier programs in the country as we build out our future schedules to bring value to our football program and to our fan base,” Harlan said in a school news release.

Utah’s schedules are booked through 2024, assuming the Pac-12 maintains a nine-game conference schedule. That’s the last contracted season for the Utah-BYU rivalry. Utah administrators will have a decision to make about a third opponent in 2026, when the Utes will visit Houston (and UH hopes to become a Power Five program by then). If the Pac-12 has moved to an eight-game schedule, though, that would create another nonconference opening.

Harlan has spoken about an occasional interruption of the rivalry “if it makes sense.”

If BYU or another FBS team becomes Utah’s only other nonconference opponent in 2026, that likely would mark the first time since 2015 that the Utes didn’t have an FCS opponent on the schedule. In 2015, Utah hosted Michigan and Utah State and visited Fresno State.

Wyoming is Utah’s only nonconference opponent currently booked for 2025.


2020 – BYU, Montana State, at Wyoming.

2021 – Weber State, at BYU, at San Diego State.

2022 – BYU, Southern Utah, San Diego State.

2023 – Weber State, at Baylor, at BYU.

2024 – Southern Utah, BYU, Baylor.

2025 – Wyoming.

2026 – at Houston, Arkansas.

2027 – Houston.

2028 – at Arkansas.