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Mike Sorensen: Utah's 2013 football schedule looks slightly tougher than BYU's — for now

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13 2013 5:30 p.m. MST

Utah Utes quarterback Jon Hays (9) passes before Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) hits him during the first half as the University of Utah and BYU play football Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s official football schedule for 2013 was unveiled this past week. BYU’s can’t be far behind.

Let the scheduling wars begin.

I’ve heard from both sides about how each school has its toughest schedule ever, which is probably true. Utah trades 2012 opponents California and Washington for Oregon and Stanford, a pair of top 10 teams this year, in 2013. Meanwhile, BYU has Notre Dame and Boise State again, along with Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia.

I’ve also heard arguments from both sides about which school has the more difficult schedule.

Looking at this year’s finishes, it appears Utah’s schedule next year is tougher than BYU's ... for now.

Going by this year's final Sagarin ratings, Utah will play nine top 50 teams: Oregon (2), Stanford (9), Oregon State (15), Utah State (19), BYU (26), Arizona State (28), UCLA (31), USC (33) and Arizona (44). Their other three opponents are Washington State (104), Colorado (156) and Weber State (179).

BYU has six top 50 teams: Notre Dame (5) Texas (16), Utah State (19), Wisconsin (23) Boise State (41) and Georgia Tech (46). Others on BYU’s schedule include Utah (61), Middle Tennessee (85), Virginia (87), Houston (108) and Hawaii (161).

However, the Cougars still have one or possibly two slots to fill for next year. (Because of their game at Hawaii, BYU could play 13 games instead of 12.) Accordingly, we’ll see if they get another top opponent or two, or whether they get someone like Idaho or New Mexico State, which they've had the past two years.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter whose schedule is tougher. It just gives fans something else to argue about during the long months between football seasons. (And it gives columnists like this one something to write about in the dog days of January).

What really matters are the win-loss records each team can salvage out of next year's brutal slates.

NOT THE SAME BOY: A few basketball fans might have been wondering about the recent promotion of Milwaukee Bucks assistant Jim Boylan to interim coach after Scott Skiles was fired.

So the former Utah coach landed on his feet quite nicely by becoming an NBA head coach, huh?

Sorry, wrong coach.

The former Utah coach is Jim Boylen with an “e.” He was once a Milwaukee assistant (2004-05) and went back to the NBA as an assistant after losing his job at Utah. He is currently an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers.

The other guy, Boylan with an “a,” is 10 years older than Boylen and was the point guard for the Marquette team that won the national title in 1977.

LEVERAGING SUCCESS: So coach Brian Kelly is spurning the NFL and staying at Notre Dame after all.

Oh, and he's also likely getting a raise and contract extension.

I don’t doubt Kelly’s interest in the pros, but why must he be given more money and years just because he looked at some offers from the NFL? I guess it happens all the time: coaches benefiting from their threat of leaving for another job as leverage for better contracts.

Some have said Kelly was going to get some sort of raise and extension anyway because of Notre Dame’s tremendous season. I just hope Kelly doesn’t turn out to be like his predecessor, Charlie Weis, who, like Kelly, was supposedly a perfect fit for the Irish.

Weis, you’ll remember was given a 10-year contract midway through his first season, when he went 9-3. Then next year was also a good one when his team went 10-3 and played in a BCS bowl. However, after that his teams went 3-9, 6-6 and 6-6 and Weis was suddenly out of a job with six years left on his contract.

Kelly, whose current contract runs through 2016, led the Irish to the national championship game this year and he reportedly has assembled an excellent recruiting class — as the Irish usually do.

But a lot can change in a few years — just as Weis and others can attest.

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