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With No Games Against Big 12 Teams, Where Does BYU Go From Here?

Photo courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Any hopes of BYU playing a game against a team from the Big 12 Conference are fading away by the wayside.

The Big 12 Conference released its nine-game league schedule for the 2020 season on Wednesday as they continue to set their sights on playing football amid COVID-19. Along with a nine-game league slate, Big 12 programs will have one non-conference matchup to open the season.

There was hope that maybe BYU could be a team that fills some of those dates but the Cougars aren’t appearing on any of those non-conference openings.

Four of the Big 12 teams didn’t officially announce non-conference matchups in Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, and Texas. But all four of those teams are believed to have games in place. According to a report from CycloneFanatic.com, Iowa State has a “verbal agreement in place with an FBS program from down south.”

Baylor is believed to be playing either Incarnate Word or Louisiana Tech, Kansas has an agreement with Southern Illinois, and Texas is reportedly set to open their season against UTEP.

Scheduling options for BYU moving forward

BYU currently has three games on its 2020 schedule. A Labor Day night showdown against the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis, a home game against Houston on October 16th, and a November tilt with North Alabama from the FCS ranks.

North Alabama’s league, the Big South, announced today that they are postponing their season to the spring. But they are allowing their league members in football to pursue up to four non-conference games in the fall. The Lions stated they hope to play four non-conference games, including the game with BYU, this fall.

The American Athletic Conference, Conference-USA, and Sun Belt Conference are all eyeing 12-game seasons. Which opens the possibility for BYU to play schools from those programs if something can be worked out.

There are still some openings for games against programs in the ACC. Boston College, Clemson, Notre Dame, Pitt, and Wake Forest all have non-conference openings that need to be filled. If BYU plays any one of those teams, the game would need to be played at the ACC school’s home state.

Independents Liberty, Army, and New Mexico State also remain options for BYU moving forward.

The challenge lining up games against teams outside the Power 5 conferences is testing. Can Group of 5 programs afford the necessary testing? If not, will BYU be able to potentially pay for programs to adhere to proper testing protocols to keep student-athletes, coaches, and support staff safe if a game is played? A lot of questions with very few answers during these unique times.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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