Ute fans are in for a treat with the 2004 home Utah football schedule.
March 4, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
The University of Utah football team has one of the most exciting home schedules in school history on tap in 2004, starting with a Thursday game against Texas A&M. The Utes and the Aggies will play on Sept. 2 in Rice-Eccles Stadium before a live ESPN national television audience. The kickoff time for it-and all of Utah's 11 games-is still to be determined and will be announced when made available.
Texas A&M is one of three BCS schools on Utah's non-conference schedule. The Utes will play at Arizona on Sept. 11 and will host North Carolina on Oct. 16. Utah's other non-conference date is at Utah State on Sept. 18.
Utah's conference schedule, which was released by the MWC office today, includes home games against perennial MWC powers Air Force (Sept. 25), Colorado State (Nov. 6) and Brigham Young (Nov. 20). Utah's other home game is against UNLV on Oct. 23. The Utes will visit MWC foes New Mexico (Oct. 2), San Diego State (Oct. 30) and Wyoming (Nov. 13).
"Our fans in Salt Lake City deserve a great home schedule and that's exactly what this is," says Utah's second-year head coach Urban Meyer. "We have the three traditional MWC powerhouses at home, as well as national names like Texas A&M and North Carolina. This has probably been the best back-to-back home schedule in school history when you consider last year's home games with Cal and Oregon. It shows the respect people have for our program and our facilities that we have gotten two Pac-10, a Big 12 and an ACC school to visit Rice-Eccles Stadium in the last two years.
"We are very excited for the opportunity to once again showcase our football program on national television. Last year, we had to beg ESPN to pick up our Cal and Oregon games. This year, ESPN called us and asked if we would move our game with Texas A&M to a Thursday because people around the country want to watch us play. Our team was exciting and we were 4-0 on national television last year, but a big reason ESPN came calling was because of the atmosphere in Rice-Eccles Stadium created by our fans and especially our student body. That kind of environment is what makes us a desirable venue."
Utah is ranked No. 14 in the ESPN.com preseason poll after finishing the 2003 season with a 10-2 mark and a No. 21 national ranking in both major polls. Under first-year head coach Urban Meyer, the Utes won the conference championship outright for the first time since 1957 and beat Southern Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl. Meyer was named National Coach of the Year by The Sporting News and was also the MWC Coach of the Year.
Utah's opening game against Texas A&M comes against a team that handed the Utes one of their two losses in 2003-28-26 in College Station on Sept. 6. The Utes' first conference opponent is Air Force, a team they beat in triple overtime last year in Colorado Springs.
2004 Utah Football Schedule Thurs., Sept. 2+ Texas A&M Salt Lake City ESPN Sat., Sept. 11 at Arizona Tucson, Ariz. Sat., Sept. 18 at Utah State Logan, Utah Sat., Sept. 25 Air Force* Salt Lake City Sat., Oct. 2 at New Mexico* Albuquerque, N.M. Sat., Oct. 9 open Sat., Oct. 16 North Carolina Salt Lake City Sat., Oct. 23 UNLV* Salt Lake City Sat., Oct. 30 at San Diego State* San Diego, Calif. Sat., Nov. 6 Colorado State* Salt Lake City Sat., Nov. 13 at Wyoming* Laramie, Wyo. Sat., Nov. 20 Brigham Young* Salt Lake City
*Mountain West Conference game +ESPN televised game