With Bowl Options Becoming Limited, Utah/BYU Should Schedule Final Face-Off

Dec 8, 2020, 12:46 PM | Updated: 12:48 pm
BYU Utah Rivalry...
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)
(Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 Conference is losing bowl games at a quick pace. It might be time for the Conference of Champions to get creative with their postseason, which is down to only four bowl games with tie-ins.

Why not create non-conference exhibition matchups after the regular season concludes?

For teams looking for one more opportunity to play a game, let’s see it happen. The bowl games that are outside of the College Football Playoff are glorified exhibitions anyway. With limited fan attendance this year and shorter stays in the bowl cities, the bowl season will not be what it has been in the past.

In a year like 2020, where things are adjusting on the fly, who would oppose such an idea?

You know where I’m going with this; it’s time to see BYU and Utah in the postseason. Exhibition matchup, bowl game, whatever you want to call it. Just play a game.

Our followers on the KSL Sports Twitter page gave some suggestions for the name of the bowl. How about “Ten In A Row Bowl?” “Time of Possession Bowl,” “Unbeara Bowl,” or my personal favorite, “Qualtrics Salt Bowl.”

Why this would benefit Utah

For Utah, it would give their young team another opportunity to play. As it stands right now, Utah isn’t projected to go to a bowl game. This isn’t comparable to the 2015 season, where Utah had a nationally-ranked team and was paired up with BYU in the Vegas Bowl.  This should be a welcomed opportunity if it were sent their way. The opportunity would give the Utes the chance to extend the winning streak over BYU to a record 10 straight games. That should be incentive enough for Kyle Whittingham and his program.

Why this would benefit BYU

BYU, there’s now a lot to gain from this. After losing to Coastal Carolina, any hope of a New Year’s Six game is now out the window. BYU’s bowl options are not great.

ESPN has promised BYU AD Tom Holmoe that the Cougars will receive a bowl bid. So getting into the postseason is not a worry for the Cougars. BYU will ultimately go where ESPN sends them. But what would ESPN like better? A rematch between BYU and UTSA the day after Christmas in Dallas? Or BYU vs. Utah in a showcase game here in Salt Lake? I think you would know the answer.

What would BYU gain playing a team from the MAC in the Potato Bowl or a Conference-USA squad in the Frisco Bowl? Great BYU teams and seasons are validated by numbers of wins in a given year and beating Utah.

Mobile & Adapt

2020 is all about being mobile and adapting to new environments. Why not put together games people actually want to watch or, more importantly, a game that would get players excited?

Bowl games these days are determined by which team shows up and actually cares to be there. Last year in the Alamo Bowl, Utah had no interest in spending a week-long stay in San Antonio, and it showed as an inferior Longhorn team thumped them.

Limiting travel during the holiday season would be accomplished by this move. Each team would have the peace of mind that both are taking care of their testing protocols, and it would add another chapter in a storied rivalry that was supposed to be played earlier this year.

Bring on the rivalry this postseason.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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