School is out for the summer, meaning it’s time to start planning some vacations if you haven’t already done so.
As usual, there are some football-rich weekends this fall where football fans from the state can catch their favorite team — be it BYU, Utah or Utah State — and enjoy an NFL game just hours apart.
Here’s a look at trips local fans can take this season to see their favorite local college football team on the road, as well as catch some NFL action:
Ultimate Utes football weekend
Nov. 26: Utah at Colorado
Nov. 27: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
This may be the best option for an ultimate trip among local college fans this season. On Saturday, Ute fans can travel to see their team take on Colorado in the regular-season finale that is likely to have postseason implications on the line. Utah has won four straight against the Buffaloes, all by seven points or fewer.
Travel about 30 miles southeast for the pro action the next day, and the NFL game could provide plenty of intrigue for Utah fans. First, there is quarterback Alex Smith, heading into his fourth season with the Chiefs and coming off a strong year where he threw for 3,486 yards and 20 touchdowns while also rushing for 498 yards and two more scores while leading the Chiefs to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
On the Broncos’ side is rookie running back Devontae Booker, the team’s fourth-round NFL draft selection in late April. At this point in the season, there’s the chance Booker has worked himself into a nice workload in the Denver backfield. The Broncos also have former Ute offensive lineman Sam Brenner, who joined the team midway through last year.
Alternative trips: On Oct. 1, Utah visits California for a rematch of a 30-24 thriller last season. The next day, San Francisco — which currently has former Utes Dres Anderson, Zane Beadles and Jason Fanaika on its roster — will host Dallas at Levi's Stadium, home to last year's Super Bowl.
If you are looking just for NFL games to attend out West with Utah ties involved, there are also several good options. On Oct. 16, the Chiefs play at the Raiders as cornerback Sean Smith will face Alex Smith and his former Kansas City teammates for the first time since signing with Oakland this offseason. The Raiders also have former Ute Keith McGill.
Another strong option is heading to Denver on Sept. 8, a Thursday, to see the Broncos host Carolina in a Super Bowl rematch. The Panthers have four Utes on their roster right now — including Star Lotulelei, Paul Soliai, Brian Blechen and Jared Norris — and will be coming West several times in 2016, including at Los Angeles (Nov. 6), at Oakland (Nov. 27) and at Seattle (Dec. 4).
Ultimate Cougars football weekend
Oct. 8: BYU at Michigan State
Oct. 9: Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions
The Cougars head to East Lansing, Michigan, the second Saturday in October for their first game ever against the Spartans. It's one of several big road games for BYU in 2016, though this could be the toughest opponent the Cougars face all season. Plus, right now, several flights to Detroit can be had on priceline.com from the low $300s to the high $300s for a roundtrip flight leaving Salt Lake City on Friday and Detroit on Monday.
On Sunday, you can travel around 90 miles back to Detroit to catch the Lions play the Eagles. Former Cougar Ezekiel Ansah is heading into his fourth year in Detroit and is coming off his best season, with his 14.5 sacks in 2015 the third-most in the league. Kyle Van Noy will be trying to earn a larger role on the Lions' defense this year, and Detroit has five defenders on its team with Utah ties, including Highland High's Haloti Ngata.
Alternative trips: This trip would need some creative planning, but on Sept. 24, BYU plays West Virginia at FedEx Field — home of the Washington Redskins — in Landover, Maryland. The next day, the Lions play at NFC North rival Green Bay in Wisconsin, a possible — though out-of-the-way — stopping point on the way home. In addition to the Ansah and Van Noy connections, the Packers have former BYU players Manoa Pikula and Robertson Daniel on their roster.
Also, Baltimore's Nov. 20 visit to Dallas is the closest the Ravens — with three BYU ties, including rookie draft pick Bronson Kaufusi — come to Utah in 2016. BYU fans would get to see AT&T Stadium, aka Jerry's World, host of the Cougars’ 14-13 win over then-No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009 when Dennis Pitta, now with Baltimore, came up big for BYU.
Ultimate Aggies football weekend
Sept. 10: Utah State at USC
Sept. 11: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks
Unlike the other two ultimate trips, this one requires traveling to multiple states to attend both games, but it's well worth the travel time. On Saturday, Aggie fans can catch USU playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the Pac-12's Trojans for the second time in four years.
The next day, with a two and a half hour flight, Aggie fans can head north to see a pair of former USU linebackers. The Seahawks are led defensively by Bobby Wagner, who was first-team All-Pro in 2014 and second-team All-Pro last year, and Seattle is one of the top teams in the league. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have second-year linebacker Zach Vigil on defense and special teams after he signed as an undrafted free agent following his USU career.
Yes, there's extensive traveling on this trip, but it would provide plenty of early season action for USU fans.
Alternative trips: Though there isn't a Utah State game out East the same weekend, the best NFL game for Aggie fans this year is likely to occur on Sept. 29, a Thursday, when Cincinnati hosts Miami. That night, the brothers Vigil — Nick with the Bengals, Zach with the Dolphins — will face each other. Nick Vigil was a third-round draft pick by Cincinnati in this year's draft, and both brothers played their high school ball in Utah.
There are also a couple NFL games where USU talent will be on display for both teams in games played out West. On Dec. 11, linebacker Kyler Fackrell — a 2016 third-round pick — and Green Bay visit Wagner and the Seahawks. And on Sept. 18, former Aggie Maurice Alexander and the L.A. Rams host Wagner and Seattle in the first NFL regular-season game back in Los Angeles since the team headed to St. Louis in 1995.
Are you planning on making any of these trips or others with your favorite team this year? Let us know about it.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd