SALT LAKE CITY — Ever since he became head coach of the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in 2016, Todd Simon has tried to schedule Power Five opponents in his team’s nonconference slate. The Thunderbirds have faced the likes of UCLA, Michigan State, USC, Oregon State and Iowa, and last season beat Nebraska in a thrilling double-overtime finish.
Assuming the 2020-2021 season happens, the Thunderbirds will have an incredibly loaded nonconference schedule. On Thursday, the program announced it had scheduled a game against the Kansas Jayhawks on Nov. 13, and on Friday it announced a Nov. 27 contest against the Michigan Wolverines.
Both games will be on the road.
The Jayhawks finished the 2019-2020 campaign ranked No. 1 in the country and were a surefire bet for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Wolverines are one of the most storied programs in the country and are trying to return to prominence under the leadership of one of its most famous former players, Juwan Howard.
“Our program is built on competition and we are thrilled for the opportunity to compete against the best,” Simon said in a statement regarding the Kansas game specifically. “As we continue to elevate the program and bring exposure to our great university, I felt this trip accomplished both objectives. We look forward to preparing our guys for the challenge.”
SUU compiled a record of 17-15 in the 2019-2020 season, marking the first time since 2007 that the program finished a campaign above .500.