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The University of Utah football team is headed to the ‘Big House' next year after reaching an agreement to play Michigan in Ann Arbor on Aug. 30, 2008. The game will be part of an ABC-ESPN national doubleheader and will replace Utah's previously scheduled engagement at Washington State. Utah and WSU plan to reschedule their home and home series, which had the Utes playing in Pullman, Wash., in 2008 and the Cougars coming to Salt Lake City in 2010.
"We always prefer playing home and home series, but every four or five years an opportunity like this comes up that we feel has great benefits in terms of national exposure and recruiting," said Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill.
The last school that did not contract to pay Utah a return visit in football was also Michigan, which edged the Utes 10-7 in 2002.
"It was a great experience for us the last time we played at Michigan and we're excited for our team to play in that kind of atmosphere again," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, who was Utah's defensive coordinator in 2002. "The ‘Big House' is one of the premier stadiums in the country, and the game day experience in Ann Arbor is as good as there is in college football."
Utah, which will receive an $800,000 guarantee to play in the 2008 football game, is in the process of finalizing a men's basketball series with Michigan. The Runnin' Utes will play in Ann Arbor in 2009-10 and UM will visit the Huntsman Center in 2010-11.