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Steve Griffin, Deseret News
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Ranking Utah’s 2019 Football Schedule By Importance

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – College football is always on the mind and with fewer than 100 days to the start of the college football season, now is a great time to take a look at the schedules and how they shake up.

The University of Utah’s schedule set up is set up for success with seven home games and notable absences in maybe the conference’s best team in Oregon and the always tough Stanford. The schedule coupled with Utah returning a lot of talent along the two-deep on the depth chart should spell success coming in 2019.

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell went ahead and ranked the schedule in order of importance for the upcoming season in which he places division games among everything else. BYU fans may want to avert their eyes since Mitchell puts the Cougars game near the bottom of the list due to the game not meaning all that much for the goals that the Utes want to achieve.

The criteria by Mitchell starts with conference games, specifically, divisional games at the top. For  the Utes to win the South they need to take care of business against those teams. Winning the South then gets Utah in position to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and a win would send them to the Rose Bowl.

USC, Followed By The Arizona Schools

The USC Trojans are the name-brand team in the Pac-12 and every school wants to beat the Trojans. That is where Mitchell’s list begins when ranking the most important games for Utah’s schedule.

“The most important game for Utah this year is at USC. Utah has not beaten USC at USC, so if you are going to win the South you always have to beat USC,” Mitchell said on KSL’s Unrivaled. “I don’t care how dysfunctional or how weird it is. It is one of those things that they are going to be talented, they will always be loaded and will always be the most dangerous team in the entire conference.”

The next set of schools both come from Arizona. The Utes have always struggled against each of these teams since joining the Pac-12 and 2015 is the only year in which Utah was victorious over both Arizona and Arizona State. The Utes’ overall record against the two Arizona schools since 2011 is just 6-10.

“Second is a home game against Arizona State. They turned a corner last year and is a really good team as they are the only other team in the South to make a bowl game. Herm Edwards seems to have things turned around, they have a really good defense but they have lost some teams offensively but they will be a problem,” said Mitchell. “No. 3 is Arizona and it is at Arizona. I might even put at Arizona more important than Arizona State at home. Utah always has a problem with these Arizona schools and needs to find a way to beat these schools.”

Why Is BYU So Low?

As for where the Cougars are on this list, Mitchell has them near the bottom at No. 10 and below all of Utah’s conference games.

This does not mean that BYU is the third easiest team on the schedule but it all goes back to what is important for Utah’s season-long goals and the Cougars game has zero impact on winning the Pac-12 and very little impact if the Utes are to make a playoff run.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.