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Utah Needs Rivalry Game More Than BYU In 2020

BYU kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) makes a field goal during the first half of an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With news that the Pac-12 Conference is contemplating allowing its teams to play non-conference opponents, could we see a Utah versus BYU game in 2020 after all?

Anytime BYU and Utah squares off its must-see television. Every year the game lives up to expectations.

This year, however, feels very different than in previous years as the pandemic has caused mass hysteria across the college football landscape.

BYU is undefeated while Utah is yet to play a game. So, would it make sense for the two teams to schedule a game in 2020?

It makes more sense for Utah to want to play the game than it does for BYU. This is ironic because ever since Utah joined the Pac-12 the roles were reversed. Generally, during a year that does not involve a pandemic, Utah does not benefit from playing the Cougars. They are expected to win the game and if they don’t then their hopes of making a playoff birth almost vanishes immediately. The Cougars, however, have nothing to lose any time they play Utah. They are not expected to win, so if they do, their brand is instantly shot into national conversations.

This year is unlike any year that we have witnessed, however. The Cougars are 8-0 and on track to qualify for a New Years Six bowl. While Utah will likely only manage to play a maximum of five games and have no consideration for a respective bowl game.

BYU, led by junior quarterback Zach Wilson, is a Heisman hopeful. The local Corner Canyon product has excelled this season, so much so that his draft stock has risen and most pundits expect Wilson to be a first-round draft pick in 2021.

Utah is desperate to play as many football games, in a safe manner of course, as they can in 2020. The more games in which they are able to play the more success they will likely have in the coming years. The defense is attempting to replace nine starters. The offense will break in a new quarterback and running back.

Unlike BYU, Utah will more than likely not be competing for a conference championship or a New Year Six bowl in 2020.

Utah risks being beaten for the first time in nine games against their rivals while BYU risks an undefeated season being ruined by their rivals, losing to Utah for a 10th consecutive time, and missing out on a New Years Six/Playoff birth.

Without question, BYU risks far more than Utah does if the two were to schedule a game.

 

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