LOS ANGELES (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah football team hasn't played Arizona State since 1993. The Utes haven't played Washington since 1979. And it's been 49 years since the Utes last played Colorado, their new conference rival. But the Utes have a new weapon to combat this lack of familiarity with the teams in the Pac-12.
"We've played a few of the teams over the past four or five years," said Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham. "But generally speaking, we know very little about the teams in the Pac-12."
Enter Norm Chow, the Utes new offensive coordinator, who has spent seven years in the Pac-10, the last three with UCLA.
"Norm is a proven entity," said UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel. "He's been successful wherever he's been. He's got that deft touch of experience and ingenuity."
"Norm has seen every defense in the world," said Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. "He's seen all of us for a long time. He'll have knowledge, which is one of the things that when you're playing new teams and you're in a new conference, and it's your first time prepping for them, that can be a factor."
But who has the advantage? Chow, who knows his opponents so well, or the opponents, who are very familiar with Chow?
"I will have an idea of how he thinks," said Neuheisel. "But I also know that he knows how I think. It's kind of that rock, scissors, paper deal. But in 25 seconds, neither one of us is going to be figuring out, 'What's he thinking right now.'"
The Pac-12 coaches also know Chow will give Utah an advantage on the recruiting trail.
"Utah is going to get recruits that they mabye didn't get before because they were playing a different offense." said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. "Now, they're playing in an offense where it's proven with great quarterbacks, receivers and running backs. So over the years, that can get you to the next level."
And when Utah plays UCLA November 12th?
"I know Norm is out to get us," said UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin. "Let's be real. I know he wants to blow us out, but we'll be ready for him."
"I just wish him nothing but the best," added Neusheisel. "With maybe the possible exception of November 12th."