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Utah Utes football: Utes may go after a Big Ten team instead of Utah State in 2014

Published: Saturday, April 7 2012 7:49 p.m. MDT

Athletics Director Chris Hill, University of Utah Interim President Lorris Betz and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott hold up a Pac-12 Day jersey during Pac-12 Celebration Day at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 1, 2011.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A day after it was announced that the Utah Utes had opted out of a 2014 football game at Utah State, athletics director Chris Hill acknowledged that there may be more to it than just loosening up the schedule for a seventh home game.

The future Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling alliance may also be part of it. Although the agreement for teams in the conferences to play doesn't kick in until 2017, schools have been encouraged to start earlier if things can be worked out. With the Pac-12's nine-game league schedule providing five home games one season and four the next, Hill noted that he'd like to bring a Big Ten team to Rice-Eccles Stadium on years when Utah has four home conference games — as is the case in 2014.

Hill, however, explained that things are still in a bit of a holding pattern as details of the Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling agreement are established. He's hopeful that parameters are worked out soon, perhaps this summer — allowing future nonconference schedules to be ironed out.

"It's all still in the planning stages," Hill said.

As for the future of the Utah-BYU series, discussions have taken place. The long-time rivalry has yet to be extended beyond this fall's meeting in Salt Lake City.

"(BYU athletic director) Tom (Holmoe) and I have talked and we're going to do the best we can with scheduling in concert with each other," Hill said while adding that other opportunities for both sides may make things difficult.

Even so, Hill noted that "the intention" is to keep the rivalry going.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: DirkFacer

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