We're taking a look at the best week-by-week trips to make in the Pac-12. My editors call it the Ultimate Road Trip. I call it dangling meat for you guys until we can start writing about actual games. Chow down, gang.
Welcome to Week 2.
Saturday, Sept. 10
Utah State at USC
Idaho at Washington
Idaho State at Colorado
BYU at Utah
UNLV at UCLA
Texas Tech at Arizona State
California at San Diego State
Virginia at Oregon
Grambling State at Arizona
Washington State at Boise State
My choice: BYU at Utah
Why: First off, let’s all take a moment to reflect on USC’s stunning upset over Alabama in Week 1. No one saw that JuJu Smith-Schuster-to-Adoree’ Jackson wildcat halfback pass in overtime coming. Tip of the cap to you, Mr. Tee Martin.
Now, on to Week 2. There are a couple of intriguing matchups this week besides the Holy War. Washington State at Boise State has some Group of 5 implications for the Broncos, who are trying to reassert themselves as the top Go5 team in the land. And this is the first of two consecutive games against the Pac-12 (they get Oregon State on Sept. 24 following a bye week). The same can be said for Cal’s trip to San Diego State. The Aztecs want that NY6 spot and it’s likely Boise and SDSU will meet in the Mountain West title game. Both are resume builders (or wreckers) for the MWC squads.
Texas Tech at Arizona State is a solid Pac-12 vs. Big 12 pairing and a rematch of the 2013 Holiday Bowl. You might recall Todd Graham calling that one of ASU’s worst losses since he’s been there.
But on to the Holy War! It seems like yesterday that Utah jumped out to a ridiculous 35-0 first-quarter lead over their in-state rivals in the Las Vegas Bowl, turning five turnovers into five touchdowns. But Vegas is Vegas. We’ve all been there. Get up big, only to throw it all away. Fortunately the Utes were able to stop the bleeding before clinging to a 35-28 win and their fourth-straight win over their rivals.
As Kyle Whittingham said after the game “We ended up with a win ... it’s the only thing that matters.”
Both teams have a lot of new looks for the 2016 season. Former Ute Kalani Sitake is running the show now for the Cougars, who said goodbye to Bronco Mendenhall after 11 seasons. Neither team knows who the quarterback is going to be. Utah is currently exploring three options while BYU is deciding between Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum.
The rivalry took a two-year hiatus in 2013 and 2014 and was supposed to renew in 2016 before last year’s bowl matchup. This is one of the best rivalries in college football, and should be a bucket-list game for any college football fan.