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Kalani Sitake Reminds Everyone BYU Football Is Committed To Playing More Games

BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, center, walks onto the field with his team after the Cougars defeated North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Kalani Sitake and his No. 8 BYU squad is one game away from an undefeated regular season. On Saturday, Sitake’s squad rolled through FCS foe North Alabama by a score of 66-14.

The discussion immediately after the game didn’t focus on the beatdown against the Lions, it was all about BYU’s schedule.

Streaking BYU doesn’t have a game until Dec. 12, when they host San Diego State. There has been a lot of discussion about scheduling possibilities that the Cougars could add if they are looking to get another game.

BYU has been committed to football from the beginning

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson made a fashion statement in the second half during the Cougars’ win over the Lions with an “any time, any team, any place” headband to clarify his views on adding additional games.

So what will the next three weeks look like for Sitake’s program? Will the focus be on preparing for San Diego State, or do they stay prepared for potential new addition to the schedule?

“I think that there’s a lot of talk from a lot of different people about our schedule and everything. I just want to remind everyone that we were the only ones that were committed to playing football in the West in August. So if you’re going to assume anything, you should probably assume that we want to get games,” said Kalani Sitake in his virtual postgame press conference.

Until the Mountain West Conference returned on Oct. 24, BYU was the farthest team out west playing football. From the beginning of this season, BYU has always been committed to playing a full regular-season schedule. They’ve even put out significant financial resources to keep up on proper testing amidst the pandemic, causing a $20 million “financial shortfall” for the athletic department.

Kalani Sitake: “We want to play as many games as possible”

“I just want to remind everyone that we have been that way from the very beginning. When things were looking pretty bleak to play, we stuck with it. Our leadership, administration, and everybody stuck with it. If [another game] does happen, then you have to get a hold of Tom (Holmoe) because we want to play as many games as possible,” Sitake said.

The Pac-12 conference has now cleared a path to play non-conference games. BYU, who has shown an ability to put together games in a short period of time, could step in for a Pac-12 team looking for a game. Then there is undefeated Cincinnati, who now has an opening on Dec. 5, which could have New Year’s Six and College Football Playoff implications on the line for both teams.

Sitake and BYU want to keep playing.

“We’ve learned a lot about COVID, the pandemic, and trying to find ways to stay as safe as possible. We’ve been dealing with our depth and dealing with guys that are tested positive and coaches and staff and players, just like everybody else,” said Sitake. “My main point is reminding everyone that we were in this from the very beginning. So if there’s a way that we can get more games, great, but you should probably assume we want to play more football because that’s what we committed to do from the very beginning when no one else was doing it.”

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 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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