This season, 26 games involve out-of-state teams, slightly down from 29 last year. All but five are with schools from neighboring states – Nevada provides the most competition with six teams. This week sees a half-dozen of those "out of state" games.
Six high profile games against non-Utah teams bookend September. Bingham hosts the Beehive Classic, a triple-header, on Saturday, Sept. 1 when the Miners play Valor Christian. VC is Colorado's top-ranked team and three-time defending state champion, currently possessing a 24-game winning streak and 39-3 record since 2009. Also, East clashes with Serra (Gardena, Calif.,) and Jordan tangles with Long Beach Poly.
On Friday, Sept. 7, Cottonwood hosts Skyline, Washington state's #1 team, and currently ranked 18th nationally by MaxPreps.
In the second Xfinity High School Football Challenge at Rio Tinto on Saturday, Sept. 29, Jordan plays St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.,) and Alta takes on formidable Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.). Don Bosco finished the 2011 season ranked #1 in the nation by MaxPreps and USA Today, is six-time defending state champ, owns a 46-game win streak (last lost in 2008) and has gone 70-2 since 2006.
More on these games in coming weeks.
By the way, Utah went 15-14 vs. out-of-state competition last year to improve its all-time record to 1,084-852-61 (.558) in 1,997 games.
Black and Blue Classic
Before Bingham and Alta meet those highly ranked opponents, these bitter rivals face each other in the second half of this Saturday's double-header at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Since the series resumed in 2001, the Miners have won ten of 15 contests – and four straight – over Alta, including a 21-18 thriller last year. From 2006-09, the two battled in August and again in the semifinals or finals and from 2006-10, they hoarded the Class 5A titles (Alta in '07 and '08, Bingham in '06, '09 and '10). The Hawks still lead the all-time series, 14-12.
In Saturday's first game, Riverton seeks revenge for Herriman's 29-28 overtime victory last year. It's possible these two will play in the same region – or at least in the 6A classification – next season.
East and West renew their age-old gridiron battle in the 22nd most-played rivalry in the nation. The two schools actually shared the same red-and-black color scheme from 1914, when East opened, until the 1951 season. That year, the Leopards decided they needed to distinguish themselves from their rivals and switched to red and white, more closely aligned with the nearby U of U. The Leopards have a 60-44-7 series edge and have won 10 straight over the Panthers.
Two more of Utah's top-10 long running rivalries are also contested this week: Delta hosts Millard in their 89th meeting, the seventh most-played rivalry; the Eagles lead the series 47-37-4. And Spanish Fork travels to Springville in their 86th matchup, the eighth most-played rivalry; the Red Devils lead by just 42-40-3.
Other long-running series include: San Juan at Monticello (64th meeting, SJ leads 40-21-1), Cyprus at Tooele (67th meeting, Tooele leads 35-28-3 – they last met in 2008) and South Summit at Morgan (53rd meeting, Morgan leads 32-19-1).
Also, Roy plays at Weber in the Battle for the Shield (48th meeting, Roy leads 25-22), Davis heads to Viewmont (45th meeting, Davis leads 31-12-1), Provo is at Pleasant Grove (44th meeting, Provo leads 27-16 – they last met in 2008) and South Sevier visits North Sevier (41st meeting, SS leads 30-10).