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Utes' game against USC will be historical, highlighted

Published: Wednesday, July 27 2011 12:06 a.m. MDT

LOS ANGELES — Utah's Sept. 10 game against USC in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be a historical affair. It'll be the first conference game in Pac-12 history.

"We're going to emphasize it," acknowledged Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. "There's going to be a lot of national interest and attention to see how they stack up right away."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham refers to it as a "baptism by fire."

Even so, he's not putting any extra emphasis on it.

"Every Pac-12 game is important, particularly the ones in your own South Conference. Our guys have been pretty good, very good throughout the years of keeping an even keel throughout the course of the season," Whittingham said. "Some games get termed as a big game or this game's more important than that. Bottom line, they all count as one, and you have to be ready to play every week."

The game, though, does have some added significance for the Utes.

"That is the first conference game we have on our schedule, so right now that is the most important conference game," Whittingham said. "(The) most important game we've got is Montana State Sept. 1. But the most important Pac-12 game will be that first one against USC."

The Trojans are also looking forward to it, for a variety of reasons — none of which is motivated by a desire to send the new kids on the block a message in their Pac-12 debut.

"I don't think there's any pressure. I think it's just excitement, excitement to have them and to be part of that game, to be at the Coliseum," said USC coach Lane Kiffin. "I think it's going to be real special for both universities."

Kiffin added that it's a big deal for the Trojans to play in the inaugural game.

"It's special," he said. "It's really neat just to be part of the whole thing and all the new changes that Larry Scott's made. It's just been great for the conference."

email: dirk@desnews.com

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