The 91st edition of Utah and BYU's football rivalry will play out in Salt Lake City on Saturday, when the Utes and Cougars vie for an important early-season win. Each enters 1-0 with a chance to solidify a great start and also deal a blow to a bitter rival, so there's a lot on the line in what's mostly a boring slate of Week 2 games.
The subtext in this version of the Holy War is thick. Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake is a former assistant to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, and BYU's trying to convince a bunch of administrators it belongs in the Big 12. The Utes have won this game five times in a row, with each of the last three coming by one score. BYU hasn't been far away, but it also hasn't been able to break through. This is another chance, in Sitake's first year. Maybe he's what's been missing.
This is a rivalry with a lot of complicated history. While you wait for kickoff, give this story from their Las Vegas Bowl last year a read.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX. The broadcasters Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline).
Online streaming: Fox Sports GO
Spread: Utah opened as a 4.5-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. BYU can use all the Power 5 wins it can get. Their football credentials have never been in doubt, but Cougars are still in the midst of their push to join an expanding Big 12. Their thrilling win against Pac-12 Arizona last week couldn't have hurt, and neither would another one against a team that moved to a power league only a few years ago.
2. There's a coaching tree at play. New BYU head coach Sitake coached for 10 years under Utah's Whittingham, staying at Utah until spending last season as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State. When Bronco Mendenhall left BYU for Virginia after last season, Sitake took the job at his alma mater, BYU, where he played fullback in the 1990s.
3. BYU's playing a tricky schedule, but it gets easier later. The Cougars are 1-0, and they've got a couple more upper-echelon opponents on the horizon. Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Boise State are all on the docket between now and the end of October. If they could get through that stretch with fewer than 10 losses, they'd give themselves a great shot to finish 10-2 by beating Southern Utah, UMass and Utah State.