Utah vs. Utah State
Saturday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m. MDT
Romney Stadium, Logan (Utah)
TV: KSL-Ch. 5; Radio: K-news AM-570, Utah Sports Network, KVNU AM-610
Looking ahead: Host Louisville Sept. 12
Of note: Seven of 11 offensive starters, all but one defensive starter and both starting kickers return, though placekicker Tommy Truhe has changed to his real first name of Cletus. First-year sophomore Ed Ta'amu, left end, is the only newcomer on defense.
Watch for: Roving linebacker Phil Glover. In his very first game as a Ute last year after transferring from Washington State, Glover, a Butkus Award and All-American candidate, made 16 tackles and had two pass breakups against the Aggies and was named WAC defender of the week.
Utah State, 0-0
Looking ahead: At Colorado Sept. 12
Of note: After winning once in 12 years, the Aggies have two straight victories over the Utes. A win Saturday would mark their first three-game winning streak over Utah since 1976 . . . BYU transfer Riley Jensen, who is from Salt Lake, will be making his Division I debut as the Aggie starting quarterback.
Watch for: Running back Demario Brown. Last year he ran wild on the Utes, getting 153 yards in 36 carries. He battled injuries the rest of the season, but is supposed to be 100 percent again . . . On the defensive side, see how the Aggie front four manages without Big West Defensive Player of the Year Ben Crosland.
Brigham Young vs. Alabama
Saturday, Sept. 5, 5 p.m. MT
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: ESPN; Radio: KSL AM-1160
Looking ahead: Sept. 12, Arizona State
Notebook: This is the first ever meeting between the Cougars and Crimson Tide . . . BYU is staying in Birmingham, a 57-mile bus ride away from Tuscaloosa . . . The Cougars are 15-11 in season openers during the LaVell Edwards era.
Watch for: Tailback Ronney Jenkins. The 1996 WAC Freshman of the Year, who missed all of last season because of an honor code violation, is expected to be the focal point of BYU's offense (both rushing and receiving). Word is the Cougars will be more pass-oriented.
Looking ahead: Sept. 12, Vanderbilt
Notebook: Poor field conditions led to a decision to replace the grass at Bryant-Denny Stadium last week. Crews are confident the 12,000 square feet of new sod will stitch together before the BYU game . . . Last year marked the first time since 1957 that Alabama had lost seven or more games in a season.
Watch for: Running back Shaun Alexander to play a role similar to BYU's Jenkins. The junior set Alabama's single-game rushing record with 291 yards in 1996. Like BYU, the Crimson Tide wants to throw the ball more this season. However, senior quarterback John David Phillips has only attempted four passes in his career.
Weber State vs. Montana Tech
Thursday, Sept. 3, 6:05 MT
Stewart Stadium, Ogden
TV: none; Radio: KXOL AM-1660
Weber State, 0-0
Looking ahead: Sept. 12, (vs. Humboldt State)
Of note: New Wildcat head coach Jerry Graybeal takes over for Dave Arslanian (new Utah State head coach) after 16 years as an assistant at Eastern Washington, where he most recently served as defensive coordinator.
Watch for: All-everything Scott Shields, who after earning all-American honors in the all-around player category, returns as the Big Sky's top place kicker, punter and safety . . . An offensive line that looks more like a Delta High School reunion as four of five projected starters hail from the south-central Utah town.
Montana Tech, 0-0
Looking ahead: Sept. 12, (at Colorado Mines)
Notebook: This marks the second time NAIA power Montana Tech has journeyed to Ogden. Weber State won a convincing 47-7 home victory over Montana Tech in 1994. The Orediggers captured last year's Frontier Conference championship with a 6-0 mark. They finished the season at 10-2 and were voted No. 4 overall in the final NAIA poll.
Watch for: Head coach Bob Green, who also doubles as the school's athletic director, to have another strong team. The NAIA preseason poll currently ranks Montana Tech No. 4 in the nation.
Looking ahead: Sept. 12 at Montana