Here in Utah, we are privileged to have three great football teams. We have the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference team in Utah. We have the Mid-Major Mountain West team in Utah State. We also have the Independent representation by BYU. The beauty of this, is we have the chance to sit down and a great game a week. As I looked over the schedule I picked one game a week, and two in a certain week, that you should all make time to sit down and watch. Here is each week’s best games.
Utah State vs. Utah
– BYU opens on the road against Virginia but the big game will be back in the state of Utah as Utah State travels to Salt Lake City to play Utah. Last year Utah State was able to defend its home turf against Utah and pick up a win in the Battle of the Brothers for the first time since 1997. With Chuckie Keeton entering his Junior year, he has the chance to stick it to Utah once again. Utah, though, will have revenge on the mind and will be gunning for Utah State.
Texas vs. BYU
– Sorry, Air Force and Weber State don’t hold a candle to Texas. BYU’s home opener is going to be a huge event for the Cougars. In 2011, Texas was able to barely edge out the Cougars behind some poor freshman decisions by Jake Heaps and a substitution by Texas to replace their quarterback with two separate quarterbacks. They started with a pocket passer and ended with a guy with ice in his veins (McCoy) and a mobile quarterback (Ash). Things have changed though, for starters, the defense is a lot better. On top of that, they have an offense to match Texas if things turn into a shoot out. Do not miss this one.
Oregon State vs. Utah
– Homecoming for the Utes and against a PAC-12 foe that they are 1-1 against since joining the PAC-12. Utah will have had tough foe in Utah State and a tune up game against Weber State that will allow them to be ready for Oregon State. By then, the defense should be in place and the offense should be running. This is an early test for the Utes, but if they want to prove they can contend this year, they are going to have come out on fire for this game. Add in the homecoming crowd and this game should be a great game.
Utah vs. BYU
– Holy War. Hatred beyond belief. This game needs no explanation. Also add in the fact that the two teams won’t play each other for two more years and that guys like Cody Hoffman and Kyle Van Noy have never beat Utah plus the bizarro ending from last year, this game is going to be just as it should be: amazing.
Utah State vs. USC
– So this week, we going with two games. The rivalry game is huge but Utah State is showing where it stands on the grand stage of the BCS by proving it can schedule schools like USC, even if it is in California. Utah State also has shown it can hang with the bigger schools. Two years ago they almost knocked off defending champion Auburn and last year they almost go Wisconsin. The bigger story is they did it in their own houses. USC should be on upset alert.
Utah State vs. San Jose State
– If you watch this game, it should be for one reason alone: David Fales. The quarterback from Fresno State is a great player. Being looked at by NFL scouts, Fales is crazy accurate and deadly in the pocket. Last year, Fales completed 72.5% of his passes. Add in 33 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, Utah State’s defense will be tested early and often. The future NFL player will be a treat to watch, especially against Utah State. Keeton v. Fales will be an amazing showdown.
BYU vs. Utah State
– No disrespect to UCLA vs. Utah but the home-grown rivalries take center stage. Last year was a defensive throwdown. BYU found the key to shutting down Keeton and Utah State seemed to shut down Riley Nelson after he entered as a sub the year before and led a huge comeback. This time around, BYU has a better quarterback in Taysom Hill that Utah State will then have some tape on. If they could find the answer to Hill, expect another defensive fight. You have to love the rivalry games.
Stanford vs. Utah
– This week is another great week of football. All three teams are home against Georgia Tech (BYU), Stanford (Utah) or Boise State (Utah State). Utah State should be a team to contend with Boise State for the Mountain West title but I am giving the edge to Stanford vs. Utah. Since joining the PAC-12, this is the first time Utah has played Stanford and get them home also. Utah should be fired up for this game. As long as Utah shows up and gets after Stanford early, I think this game has bigger consequences on the PAC-12 than people would think.
BYU vs. Houston
– The reason to watch this, is simple: trap game. This game is the definition of a trap game. If BYU has the year that many think they could have, they are going to have to avoid losing this game. With Georgia Tech the week before and Boise State the week after, they are going to have to keep focused on Houston. Watch for how the Cougars respond in this situation.
Utah vs. USC
– Utah tends to play USC very hard. Two years ago, Utah should have beaten USC. Utah, on that day, was the better team. Utah could be challenging for the PAC-12 Championship bid and to get their, a win over USC is a must. USC has BCS aspirations in mind so Utah could sneak in and steal a win. And that would be huge for this program.
Utah State vs. Hawaii
– Why? Because the other two have bye weeks. And Hawaii is under Norm Chow so hopefully they have a fast pace offense in place. I am hoping to see a shoot out between the two, but I feel Utah State is the bigger team. If you support local teams, this is your only choice but it could be a great game still. College football is funny that way.
BYU vs. Wisconsin
– BYU is going to travel to Camp Randall and try to knock off the Badgers. Last year, another team to call Utah home almost pulled it off. That team was led by Gary Andersen. This year, Wisconsin calls Andersen their coach. So he is well known in BYU and seems to get a team together that plays BYU hard. Thing is, Bronco has had his number the past two years. Yeah, this game should be a great game. Add in the fact that Wisconsin should be contending for the Big 10 Championship, and BYU could go in to play spoiler.
Utah vs. Oregon
– The beauty of Utah in the PAC-12 is the quality of teams to play. Utah and Oregon play for the first time since Utah joining the PAC-12. With Oregon under a new head coach, Utah could sneak away with a win but Oregon will be going full steam. This team is quick and loves to get into shoot outs. If Utah wants to compete, the offense better show up and be ready to hang some points on the board. Defenses, exit now.
BYU vs. Notre Dame
– This should truly be called the Holy War. BYU and Notre Dame put on a classic last year. This year shouldn’t be any different. Add in the fact that the two independents are playing in November and this has BCS implications written all over it. If BYU and Notre Dame are both without loss or one is a one-loss team while the other is without loss, the winner from this game could receive a huge boost in the polls.
BYU vs. Nevada
– No true barn burners the final week of the season, but I give the nod to BYU vs. Nevada only off of the fact that Kyle Van Noy returned for his season year and his final game, not counting bowl game, as a Cougar will be at his home town of Reno against Nevada. Watch the Cougar faithful to flock to Reno to send off Van Noy in style. Should be an emotional game for Van Noy, so scouts will be watching how he reacts on the field in a situation like that.
So there you go. Each week we have some great games. Of course this is preseason talk, so a game like BYU vs. Notre Dame could mean nothing at that time and we could be talking about Utah State and Colorado State or Utah vs. Washington State. But I still recommend these games if you are of fan of State of Utah football.