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Best college and NFL football road trips for BYU, Utah and Utah State fans, Desert News

Best college and NFL football road trips for BYU, Utah and Utah State fans, Desert News


Call the travel agency, book the flights and fill out the holiday applications. It's time to start making plans for football season, even if it's still a few months away.

On Wednesday, the NFL announced its 2024 schedule.

For college football fans of Utah's three FBS schools, there are several options to take a road trip this fall and attend a college and NFL game on the same weekend.

However, some road trips are admittedly better than others.

Here's a look at my favorites.

Best BYU road trip

  • Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, September 5.
  • BYU at SMU Friday, September 6.

Yes, the two games are not in the same state, but it would be tempting to take a quick hour and a half flight between the two and enjoy a weekend of football and barbecue.

Plus, it's Labor Day weekend, so you can make it an extended outing.

The Ravens-Chiefs game kicks off the 2024 NFL season and features a rematch of last year's AFC Championship. There are also BYU connections on both sides: Kyle Van Noy with the Ravens, and Andy Reid and Kingsley Suamataia (maybe even Ryan Rehkow) with the Chiefs.

This particular game could be Suamataia's first NFL start, against another Super Bowl contender, as Reid pursues his fourth Super Bowl championship with Kansas City after the Chiefs won the past two.

For the Cougars, the trip to Dallas will be their fifth game ever against an SMU program that was BYU's opponent in the famed Miracle Bowl.

The Mustangs are also playing their first season in the ACC, making this a matchup of two power conference programs.

But back to the BBQ: wouldn't it be great to get the chance to compare what two regions synonymous with excellent BBQ bring to the table?

A few other interesting BYU options

  • BYU at Wyoming Saturday, September 14.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Sunday, September 15.

The Cougars make their first trip to Wyoming since 2009 to take on a long-standing former conference rival. And while it's unlikely, there is a possibility that Zach Wilson could play for Denver against Pittsburgh. Even if he doesn't, there's a lot of intrigue surrounding the QB situations in Pittsburgh and Denver.

  • BYU at Baylor Saturday, September 28.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Sunday, September 29.

Unless Max Tooley makes the 53-man roster, this NFL game will not feature BYU ties. However, the Cougars will play their first game as a Big 12 member in Waco after splitting a pair of games with the Bears in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

  • BYU at UCF Saturday, October 26.
  • Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, October 27.

The Knights and Cougars have a nice history and UCF is looking further in its adjustment to the power conference level, making this a potentially big game for BYU. And who could forget former Cougar running back Tyler Allgeier, who is in his third year with the Falcons? The game is just a few hours drive away.

And don't forget, this is all happening super close to Disney World and Universal Studios, so all those theme park-loving BYU fans are getting a ready-made long vacation.

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) breaks up a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings tight end TJ Hockenson (87) during the game, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, in Minneapolis. | Abbie Parr

Best road trip through Utah

  • Utah at Colorado Saturday, November 16.
  • Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos Sunday, November 17.

The Utes have had the Buffaloes number for a number of years now, although there have often been interesting tidbits in the matchup.

There's always the Deion Sanders angle, and this will be Utah's first trip to Boulder since the polarizing coach took over at Colorado.

Hopefully Utah won't have to start its fifth string QB this time around, although Luke Bottari did what it took to beat the Buffaloes last year.

As for the Falcons and Broncos, there are a ton of Utah connections in this matchup.

Clark Phillips III is in his second year in Atlanta and has a bright future.

The Broncos are littered with Utes, from All-Pro Garett Bolles and veterans Tim Patrick and Cody Barton to rookies like Jonah Elliss, Devaughn Vele and Thomas Yassmin.

Certainly, one or more of these players will have a meaningful impact on the game.

A few other interesting Utah options

  • Utah at Oklahoma State Saturday, September 21.
  • Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts or Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints on Sunday, September 22.

Make your selection for the NFL game here, although both games after the Utes game require a flight to another state. Yet the Bears (Jaylon Johnson), Colts (Matt Gay and Julian Blackmon), Eagles (Britain Covey) and Saints (Nephi Sewell) all have a former Utah player suiting up for them.

The Utes' game at Oklahoma State is also highly anticipated: It will be Utah's first conference game as a member of the Big 12, against a team expected to be one of the top challengers to win the league.

  • Utah at Houston Saturday, October 26.
  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Sunday, October 27.

The Utes should be heavy favorites to beat Houston, although this road trip doesn't require you to leave town to play either game. As previously mentioned, the Colts have a few former Utes to watch in this NFL matchup, and the Texans are an up-and-coming team.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is pushed out of bounds by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir (2) during a game on Sunday, January 21, 2024 in Inglewood, California. | Ashley Landis

Best road trip in the state of Utah

  • Saturday, September 21 at Utah State in Temple.
  • Green Bay Packers at Tennessee Titans Sunday, September 22.
  • And/or Washington Commanders at Cincinnati Bengals Monday, September 23.

Okay, okay, okay, yeah, there are three games listed here, and Utah State's isn't even against the Aggies' best non-conference opponent.

But listen to me.

Utah State is much more likely to beat Temple than some of the other non-conference opponents on the schedule, such as Utah and USC, and flying a day early gives you a chance to see some of the sights in Philadelphia.

From there, Utah State fans (depending on financial situation) could choose to fly to one or more NFL games on the way back to Utah, including some legendary Aggies.

First, there's Jordan Love with the Packers. He made a strong impression last year in his first season as the starting quarterback, and this is an absolutely winnable game in Nashville.

Then there's a Monday night game in Cincinnati where USU fans got to watch one of the all-timers, Bobby Wagner, play for his new team, the Commanders.

Admit it, if money were no object and free time wasn't an issue, it would be a pretty fun road trip.

A few other interesting options in the state of Utah

  • Utah State at USC Saturday, September 7.
  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, September 8.

No, there are no Utah State ties to the Raiders or Chargers, but they are bitter AFC West rivals that could make this an entertaining game. There is also the chance to see the famous Colosseum, although the Trojans will be big favourites.

  • Utah State and Colorado State, Saturday, November 30.
  • Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos, Monday, December 2.

Utah State could be fighting for bowl eligibility right now, and the Aggies have had their success against the Rams in recent seasons. And while there are no USU players on the Browns or Broncos rosters, there is a long list of Utah ties on those rosters for Aggie fans to cheer or boos, if they so choose.




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