It's time for a do-over.
After the mess that was the 2020 college football season due to the uncertainty and seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is much reason for hope heading into the upcoming season.
With cases dropping dramatically and vaccines being made widely available — with expectations that every adult could receive the vaccine by May — the hope that the 2021 season could be completed in full is legitimate.
The Pac-12 is moving ahead with the expectations of playing as it just released the 2021 schedule for all 12 teams on Tuesday morning. Although it was the last Power 5 conference to do so, the releasing of the schedule is just another step forward towards normalcy.
Utah's schedule is set up extremely favorably as it will not be taking on Washington and Cal, two of the top three teams in the Pac-12 north division. The Utes will get Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA all at home while their toughest game will be a road trip to USC early in the years.
UTAH'S 2021 SCHEDULE
*Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 2 vs. Weber State
*Week 2: Saturday, Sept. 11 @ BYU
*Week 3: Saturday, Sept. 18 @ San Diego State
*Week 4: Saturday, Sept. 25 vs. Washington State
*Week 5: BYE
*Week 6: Saturday, Oct. 9 @ USC
*Week 7: Saturday, Oct. 16 vs. Arizona State
*Week 8: Saturday, Oct. 23 @ Oregon State
*Week 9: Saturday, Oct. 30 vs. UCLA
*Week 10: Friday, Nov. 5 @ Stanford
*Week 11: Saturday, Nov. 13 @ Arizona
*Week 12: Saturday, Nov. 20 vs. Oregon
*Week 13: Friday, Nov. 26 vs. Colorado
Utah will begin the season with in-state foe Weber State, one of the top FCS programs in the country.
Up next will be the trip 45 minutes down south to play hated-rival BYU, a series in which the Utes will be going for their tenth consecutive win. The nine consecutive wins matches the all-time high in the rivalry.
The Utes will then wrap up its nonconference schedule when it heads to the sunshine to play San Diego State at Dignity Health Sports Park, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, Calif.
Utah will start Pac-12 play at home against Washington State, the team it defeated in the 2020 regular season finale after overcoming a 28-7 halftime deficit to win 45-28.
Up next is the biggest game of the season in the Pac-12 south division when the Utes fly south to face USC in a game that is sure to have national implications as well.
Utah will return home to face Arizona State the following week in what could be a massive trap game if the Utes can take down the mighty Trojans. Next is a road game at Oregon State that has a #Pac12AfterDark written all over it.
Returning home against the Bruins could also be a big game in the Pac-12 south as UCLA is primed to take a step forward in Chip Kelly's fourth season at the helm.
Then comes back-to-back weeks on the road at Stanford and Arizona, the final two times Utah will be away from the comfy confines of Rice-Eccles stadium.
Then comes the biggest game of the Pac-12 conference when Utah hosts Oregon, who's is expected to be a potential College Football Playoff contender. There's also a good chance these two teams meet again two weeks later in the conference championship game.
Wrapping up the regular season will be a game against Colorado, who took a massive step forward in head coach Karl Dorrell's first season leading the Buffaloes.
“You always know who you’re going to play. You just don’t know in what order and, of course, what days. There’s a couple of non-Saturday games in there,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told the Pac-12 Network. “When you look at it, it’s pretty much laid out as we expected. We typically play USC early in the season — same thing this year. We’ve got Oregon late in the year at our place, which could be affected by weather. Of course, we always finish with Colorado at the end. So not a lot of surprises. It looks solid. We’ll see what happens.”