BYU-Utah football rivalry faces a new reality going forward
“There are some things that are unfolding with conferences and traditional games,” Holmoe said. “We’ve been fortunate enough, working with ESPN and the Pac-12 Conference, to try to make this kind of a symbiotic relationship, where it works for us, and it works for them. We’re working with the Pac-12 right now on some other possible games that hopefully we can announce down the road.” When asked about Pac-12’s policy change, Hill said that the league has a “Notre Dame exception” for USC and Stanford to play later in the year.
In 13-week college football seasons, some teams would be forced to play 12 straight weeks without a bye, so the Pac-12 will allow other teams to play a late nonconference game so they could get a bye earlier in the season.
In normal 14-week seasons, it isn’t an issue, Hill explained, because there are two possible bye weeks.
Playing BYU later “assures us of not having to play 12 straight weeks,” Hill explained.
As for the 2017 game in Provo, Hill said there are two possible weekends to play, but he’s “waiting for BYU to tell me which day would work best.’’
Hill added that playing BYU in the future has “always been our full intention. All of us understand the importance of the Utah-BYU game for many, many reasons. We’re moving forward. We want people to understand we’re moving in the right direction for everybody.’’
While both programs seem committed to playing in the future, don't expect any long-term deals. It will be difficult for BYU and Utah to play on an annual basis. “Is it possible on the odd year that we have to take a year off? It's possible,” Holmoe said. "If we hadn't have taken the two years off, it would have been easier to slide (Utah) through. In that two-year hiatus, I started scheduling other games."
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