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Power-5 Scheduling Wish List For Utah Football

Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (20) runs for a touchdown after intercepting a pass during a football game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Utah won 52-7. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan has already upgraded the Utes’ non-conference schedule in the future with quality opponents.

But, there is still some open slots between 2025-32 that Utah could schedule another quality opponent that could help bolster their resume.

One of the issues last season when Utah was in the College Football Playoff conversation was their strength of schedule. They played BYU, Northern Illinois and Idaho State in their non-conference schedule.

With the Pac-12 playing nine conference games, scheduling becomes more tricky. The Utes have to decide if they want to play really tough opponents or take the risk of having a weaker strength of schedule haunt them as they inch closer to the postseason.

The Crimson Corner podcast listed one team from each of the other four Power-5 conferences that are not on Utah’s schedule and explained why they would be a compelling matchup for the Utes.

Big Ten – Wisconsin Badgers

Utah currently doesn’t have any Big Ten teams on their schedule but one that would be really fun to watch is the Wisconsin Badgers. Basically, Utah would be facing themselves. The Badgers have a rich history of great running backs and being a run-heavy offense while also being a physical team on defense that is among the elite in college football in stopping opponents’ offenses.

Wisconsin and Utah have played three times. The Badgers won the first meeting 7-0 in Madison back in 1961. The second matchup took place in Madison as well with the Utes pulling out a 31-28 victory in 1987. Finally, the two teams squared off in the 1996 Cotton Bowl where Wisconsin won the game 38-10.

SEC – Alabama Crimson Tide

Who doesn’t want to see a rematch of the 2009 Sugar Bowl? The Utes and Crimson Tide have gotten better since that time in 2009 where the Utes upset Alabama to cap an undefeated season for the second time in school history. That bowl game was the only meeting between the two schools in history.

Utah has LSU, Florida and Arkansas currently on their schedule but adding another SEC team will only strengthen Utah’s non-conference slate.

Big 12 – Oklahoma Sooners

The last time that Utah played a Big 12 team was their last game of the 2019 season when they lost to the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl. Despite that result, it would be a very interesting matchup to watch Utah and Oklahoma play each other. OU’s high-powered offense against Utah’s physical and tough defense. The two teams met just once previously in 1977 where the No. 5 Sooners beat the Utes 62-24 at home.

Baylor is the only Big 12 school that is on Utah’s non-conference schedule.

ACC – Clemson Tigers

Utah and Clemson would be fun to watch, particularly if you like to watch elite defenses play each other. There was a slim possibility this season that we could’ve seen the Utes and Tigers play each other for the first time ever if Utah would’ve reached the College Football Playoff with a win over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship and Clemson getting a No. 1 ranking. But, this would be a fun and challenging matchup for the Utes.

The Utes don’t have an ACC team on their schedule.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.