Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan Excited To Renew In-State Football Rivalries

Feb 21, 2024, 2:56 PM

utah athletic director mark harlan stands in front of Huntsman Center...

University of Utah athletic director Mark Harlan poses for a portrait outside of the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, May 30, 2019. The Utah AD recently wrapped up his fourth year at the helm on the Hill.Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – 2024 will be a transformative season for the University of Utah as they transition into the Big 12 Conference after spending 14 years in the Pac 12. Before they begin Big 12 play, the Utes will renew a long-standing rivalry against Utah State and former Ute QB Bryson Barnes.

Harlan joined Hans & Scotty G on the KSL Sports Zone on Tuesday, February 21, to discuss the Utes as they look to end their run in the Conference of Champions in style.

RELATED: Utah, Utah State Commit To Scheduling Agreement In 2024

Harlan and his team were scrambling to fill next season’s football schedule after a non-conference tilt with BYU shifted to a Big 12 game, and it just so happened that a familiar opponent was available. After meeting with Utah State AD Diana Sabau, Harlan said the three-game series just came together.

“She knew we had some openings because of the realignment deal, and they just happen to have an opening this coming season,” Harlan said.

Before long, a partnership was struck to renew a rivalry that hadn’t been played since 2015. The Utes travel to Logan in September 2024 for the 113th meeting between the programs. To get a Big 12 team in Logan, the Aggies agreed to two games at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2026 and 2031.

“I’m excited about going up there and taking the team up there. I guess we’ll know the quarterback pretty well, too,” Harlan joked.

Utah opens the season against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Thursday, August 29.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan Excited To Renew In-State Football Rivalries