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Utah vs. BYU Rivalry May Be Moved To Labor Day Weekend

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With Utah's upcoming move to the Pac-10 conference, the Holy War is likely going to change.

No longer playing in the same conference, BYU and Utah's athletic departments are working to figure out how they will continue their heated rivalry.

In an interview with 1320 KFAN, Utah Athletics Director Dr. Chris Hill said the rivalry may be moved to the Labor Day Weekend to get a larger national audience.

"We're hoping to build a new tradition and maybe we play the game very early in the year.  Maybe even on Labor Day Weekend sometime because it will be a nationally attractive game," Dr. Chris Hill said.  "That's what were looking at.  I think we're all on the same page that it's such an important rivalry for us that we got to continue it and maybe continue it in a little different tradition."

The game most likely won't continue as the last game of the season, which has typically been played in late November.  Boise State likely will replace Utah in the MWC schedule when they join, which would put them against BYU at the end of the season.

The 2011 schedule still remains a roadblock in continuing the Holy War.  Utah currently plays at Boise State, at Pittsburgh and has Iowa State scheduled at home.  If the Pac-12 plays a nine-game conference schedule, their schedule is full and a team would need to be dropped if they want to play BYU.

The Des Moines Register reported that Iowa State and Utah may cancel or move their 2011 game, since Iowa State will need to make room for a nine-game conference Big 12 schedule.  If that game is dropped, a spot opens up for BYU but where will the game be played?

If the two schools continued with their alternating home-home schedule, the game should be played at BYU in 2011, then at Utah in 2012.  The problem is, if Utah went to BYU in 2011 they would be playing all three non-conference games on the road against difficult opponents, plus their new Pac-12 schedule.  

That would likely put them at five home games and seven road games.  Not the typical schedule of a BCS football program.  It would especially hurt, considering Utah doesn't get any TV revenue from the Pac-12 in 2011 and will need to make money from other sources like home games.

Would BYU be willing to play two years in a row at Utah? When BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe recently met with the media, he was asked if BYU would do a 2-for-1 with Utah.  "I don't think we would do that," Holmoe said.  "If you want a rivalry, make room for the rivalry."  

Playing two years in a row at Utah wouldn't necessarily be a 2-for-1 though.  They would be starting a home-home series in 2011 at Utah.  Holmoe sounded like he didn't want any part of playing in 2010 and 2011 at Utah though.

It appears that both sides are strongly interested in continuing the rivalry and any talk about ending it was just speculation among fans. 

Here is the complete interview.


Follow Michael Rueckert on Twitter @MichaelRueckert