New rivalries are forming between the three biggest programs in the state.

With the recent rise of Utah State, three in-state rivalry games must be circled on your calendar immediately. These games are sure to offer high emotion, tough competition and good amount of banter between fans.

Besides the rivalry games, several other matchups will take place locally in 2013 that are must-see events. With Utah and BYU both facing arguably their toughest schedules in school history, and Utah State moving to the Mountain West Conference, several big names will come to town.

Here is a look at the top 10 best games to attend in Utah this season counting down from 10 all the way to No. 1.

Whitney O'Bannon is a new media sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow on Twitter at @whitney_oban.


Date: Nov. 30

Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium

Lately the Colorado verses Utah game has been a memorable one. Colorado has been the worst team in the Pac-12, yet given Utah some serious trouble.

Two years ago in 2011, the Utes were one game away from a Pac-12 South title. Only Colorado stood in the way of completing the turnaround and Utah fell, at home, to the Buffaloes, 17-14. No matter how you look at it, the "Rumble in the Rockies" has been an entertaining one so far, even if Colorado has been awful.


Date, Time: Sept. 14, 7 p.m.

Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium

Utah's homecoming game combined with its first conference game of the season should be a big one. Just like last year, the opening Pac-12 game for Utah could set the tone for the entire rest of the season. The Utes are hoping it goes a little better this time — last season's conference opener was a doozy.

Mike Riley turned the Oregon State program around. After finishing last season with a No. 20 national ranking, the Beavers are officially on the national radar again. However, just like Oregon State is on the rise, Utah is only a few strides behind. This is one of those toss-up games for the Utes, and one they need to win.


Date: Oct. 12

Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Georgia Tech and BYU both received votes in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, although neither accumulated enough for a ranking. These two teams are evenly matched and poised for an exciting showdown in Provo.

The two teams are facing opposite problems this season. BYU is out to prove the offense can "go hard, go fast." Georgia Tech on the other hand faces more questions on the defensive side of the ball. This could lead to either a deadlock, low-scoring game or a game where total points reach more than 100.

Either way, LaVell Edwards Stadium should be hopping.


Date, Time: Oct. 25, 6 p.m.

Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium

The Cougars have a sour, ugly taste left in their mouths from last year's matchup with Boise State. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall went for a two-point conversion on the final play of the game. His team could not convert, and BYU lost, 7-6.

Although No. 19-ranked Boise State's offense is potent, BYU had a fairly easy time containing the Broncos last year. However, the Cougars have had an unmistakably difficult time scoring against Boise. Playing this year's game in Provo will likely help BYU, but it must find offensive production to get it done vs. the Broncos.


Date, Time: Oct. 12, 5:30 p.m.

Venue: Romney Stadium

Welcome to the Mountain West Conference, Utah State. This game will be the ultimate showdown in the Mountain division and the Aggies' toughest conference game this season, making it a must see.

Boise State is ranked No. 19 in preseason polls and has a strong offense with many questions remaining in the defense. For the Aggies, the key will be the passing game.

Boise State has a void at the cornerback position, much like Utah and BYU, and if QB Chuckie Keeton can exploit that weakness, he will give the Aggies a good shot at earning mad respect in the MWC.


Date: Oct. 12

Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium

Struggling Utah didn't have to face Stanford during the Cardinal's breakout season, a year in which they went 12-2 (8-1, Pac-12). However, the reigning Pac-12 champions will visit Salt Lake City mid-season in 2013.

Stanford is poised to pick up where it left off last season, and the only advantage Utah has in this game is the fans.

Phil Steele said toss-up games will be key for Utah to make a bowl game. He rated this game as a toss-up only because Utah will have home-field advantage. With the MUSS stirring up a ruckus and every fan in the stadium backing the Utes, they might have enough momentum to pull off the upset.


Date, Time: Sept. 5, 5 p.m.

Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium

When Texas comes to town, we will see BYU's true colors. The talk of fall camp leads everyone to believe the Cougars are much improved and can handle nationally ranked opponents. Last season, BYU fell to top-25 teams Notre Dame, Oregon and Boise State.

In the preseason AP poll, Texas is ranked No. 15 and the game is also ranked No. 15 in the 25 most important Big 12 games of 2013 by Athlon Sports.

Texas does not have a great track record against BYU, losing twice out of three total meetings.


Date, Time: Oct. 4, 6 p.m.

Venue: Romney Stadium

This will be a rematch from last season worth watching.

Last year, Utah State fielded the most potent offense in Utah, which ranked 23rd nationally. Despite Chuckie Keeton's precision and Kerwynn Williams' speed, when the Aggies visited LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2012, they were stifled by the BYU defense. BYU also featured little offense in the defensive battle, but managed to squeak out one lone touchdown.

BYU made several offseason changes to its offense and features strong QB Taysom Hill at the helm. Utah State's offense is still ranked nationally in the top 30 in five different categories. Utah State will have the home-field advantage this time as BYU will travel to Logan.


Date: Aug. 29

Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium

The opening game of the season for both teams, much depends on this matchup.

The countdown to the beginning of the season began for both teams as fall camp got underway. Although the focus of fall camp is always ironing out the details, as camp wrapped up, both teams' focus switched to each other.

The Aggies will visit Rice-Eccles Stadium on Aug. 29 for the Utes' first-ever "Stripe the Stadium" home opener. The Aggies are primed to continue their winning ways from last season and look to beat Utah for the second straight year. If the Aggies pull off the victory, it will be only the second time in the last 30 years that Utah State will take two straight from the Utes.

Utah has an equal amount on the line, if not even more, in the season opener. If the Utes want a chance to go bowling this year, they will most likely need to win all their non-conference games, starting with Utah State.

1. UTAH at BYU

Date: Sept. 21

Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium

A hiatus is just over the horizon, a football season without the annual BYU-Utah rivalry game. What does that mean? The winner of the 2013 matchup, taking place in Provo this year, gains bragging rights for three full years.

Since Utah moved to the Pac-12, the games have been in September, which many think makes the game less important. However because of its rich history, the rivalry game will never lose its steam. It hardly ever matters if one team or the other is having a better season, no one is safe in the rivalry game. That is what makes it so special.