Breakdown Of Utah’s 2020 Conference-Only Football Schedule

Jul 31, 2020, 4:28 PM | Updated: Aug 1, 2020, 12:44 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah football program found out when and who they will be playing during the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 announced that they would be moving to a conference-only model this season. On Friday, the Pac-12 released the full schedule.

Utah will open up the season on the road against Washington State on Saturday, September 26. They will play their first two games of the season on the road as they will take on Colorado in Boulder on Saturday, October 3.

The Utes will play their first game at Rice-Eccles Stadium versus the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, October 10. The schedule consists of five home games and five road games. Two games will be held on Friday, one on the road versus UCLA on October 16 and one at home against USC on November 27.

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Saturday, Sept. 26 at Washington State

The opener has many storylines. The first one that stands out is the matchup with Lehi High School graduate Cammon Cooper who is projected to be the starting quarterback for the Cougars this season as a sophomore.

It will also be the debut of head coach Nick Rolovich who took over the Washington State program after Mike Leach left to be the head coach of Mississippi State. Rolovich was recently the head coach of Hawai’i where he had success in a “run and shoot” offense.

Washington State will have 13 returning starters, six on offense, seven on defense. Utah is 3-4 against the Cougars since joining the Pac-12. The Utes won the 2019 meeting at home, 38-13.

Saturday, Oct. 3 at Colorado

The Utes will travel across the rocky mountains and face the Buffaloes in Boulder. Utah will have the benefit of facing a team in consecutive weeks that have a new head coach. Karl Dorrell took over the Colorado program after Mel Tucker took off to be the coach at Michigan State.

Utah beat CU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the regular season finale last year, 45-15. Colorado lost a lot of talent on offense including quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Laviska Shenault. They do return stud running back Alex Fontenot as a junior.

The Buffs return 13 starters, including six on offense and seven on defense. Utah is 7-2 as Pac-12 foes against Colorado and have won the last three meetings.

Saturday, Oct. 10 vs. Oregon State

After two weeks on the road, the Utes will finally return home to Rice-Eccles Stadium against a young and talented team. Jonathan Smith is looking to take Oregon State to the next level and reach a bowl game. The Beavers lost quarterback Jake Luton and star wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins but bring back running back Jermar Jefferson and linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr.

Last season, Utah went up to Corvallis and posted a 52-7 win over Oregon State. The Utes are 5-2 against the Beavers and have won the last four meetings.

Oregon State will bring back nine starters from last season, three on offense and six on defense.

Friday, Oct. 16 at UCLA

The Utes will have a short turnaround as they will travel to UCLA for a Friday night clash. The Chip Kelly era has not been kind to the Bruins to this point but hope they will have some success with starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson back. The Bruins did lose star running back Joshua Kelley.

In 2019, Utah took down the Bruins with a 49-3 win at home. The Utes are 6-3 against UCLA as Pac-12 foes while winning the last four matchups.

UCLA will have an inexperienced team back from last season as they will return nine starters, six on offense and just three on defense.

Saturday, Oct. 31 vs. Arizona

After the short turnaround, the Utes will get an extra day to rest and prepare for a Halloween matchup with Arizona. The Wildcats have struggled over the last four-plus years and are hopeful that Kevin Sumlin will turn around the program. They bring back a promising prospect in quarterback Grant Gunnell.

Last season, the Utes went to Tuscon and pulled out a 35-7 win. As Pac-12 opponents, Utah is 5-4 against the Wildcats and have won the last four meetings.

Arizona brings back 10 starters, four on offense and six on defense.

Saturday, Nov. 7 at Arizona State

The Sun Devils will be a challenge this season. They bring back a lot of players on defense but also have a talented quarterback in Jayden Daniels. Herm Edwards has the Arizona State program on the right track.

In 2019 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah’s defense held ASU in check with a 21-3 win. The Utes are 3-6 against Arizona State since 2011.

The Sun Devils will have a lot of experience returning on defense with seven of their 11 total returning starters coming on the defensive side of the ball.

Saturday, Nov. 14 vs. Washington

The Jimmy Lake era will be well underway when the Utes and Huskies meet in Salt Lake City in the middle of November. Lake took over a program full of talented players that were coached by Chris Peterson. The offense will not be as experienced with the departure of quarterback Jacob Eason and running back Salvon Ahmed. But, their defense will be really good. The Huskies have reloaded through great recruiting classes.

Last season, Utah went up to the Pacific Northwest and pulled off a 33-28 comeback win over Washington. It was only the Utes’ second win over the Huskies since joining the Pac-12 and are 2-6.

After struggling last season, Washington’s defense will be much stronger this season. The Huskies bring back 11 starters, four on offense and seven on defense.

Saturday, Nov. 21 at California

This is the year for the rebuild in Berkeley to unfold under Justin Wilcox. He brings back a team that lost just five starters including three guys to the NFL. The 2020 season is a make or break year for the Golden Bears. This will be a tough challenge for Utah to bring a young team on the road and try to defeat a veteran-filled squad.

In 2019, Utah pitched a shutout over the Golden Bears with a 35-0 win. The Utes are 3-2 against Cal since joining the Pac-12.

Cal will bring back one of the most experienced teams this season with 17 returning starters, nine on offense and eight on defense.

Friday, Nov. 27 vs. USC

Another short turnaround for the Utes, this time it will be a road game, turning around to a home game. The Utes will look for revenge against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Trojans have their quarterback of the future in Kedon Slovis who is considered the best quarterback in the conference entering his sophomore season.

Last season, Utah’s only loss in the regular season was at USC when the Trojans picked up a 30-23 victory.

USC will bring back 17 starters, eight on offense and nine on defense.

Saturday, Dec. 5 vs. Oregon

Despite losing Justin Herbert, the Ducks look like they will be an even tougher team to beat in 2020. The defense is stacked with talent. They have filled the holes in their roster with big time recruits and a star running back in C.J. Verdell and offensive lineman Penei Sewell.

The last time the Utes played a regular season football game at home in December was on December 1,1962 against UCLA.

Utah didn’t face the Ducks in the regular season but the two clashed in the Pac-12 Championship game where Oregon knocked off the Utes with a 37-15 win. The Utes are 2-5 against Oregon as conference foes.

Oregon returns 12 starters, four on offense and eight on defense.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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