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What Big 12 Football Coaches Are Saying About BYU, New League Members

Sep 21, 2021, 5:44 PM
Big 12 Conference...
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 07, 2019 - Detail view of Big 12 logo as the Baylor Bears band plays on the field before Baylor plays the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Coaches in the Big 12 Conference are excited about BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF into the league.

The additions of the four programs have come at a time when coaches are busy preparing for games each week. Still, the common theme is that all four of the new universities joining the Big 12 as early as 2023 or 2024 bring stability to a league that desperately needed it moving forward.

Big 12 coaches shared their thoughts on the new members in a recent league teleconference with reporters.

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

“We hit a home run. The presidents, ADs, Big 12 office, whoever was involved in this, there couldn’t be a better scenario, in my opinion. You pick up four very good football programs, big colleges, big television markets located in populated areas across the country that have been very competitive from a football standpoint. And you’ve solidified this league until things start to change after the 2024 season with media rights across the country.”

Chris Klieman, Kansas State

“I appreciate what Commissioner Bowlsby did in acting quickly. We got four really good programs that are a couple of top 10 teams that football is really important—a couple of really good markets in Florida and Houston. I’m excited to have BYU join because I’ve played out there when I was at another school, and it’s a great environment and venue. I think it solidifies the Big 12 as a power conference that is here to stay for the long haul.”

Matt Wells, Texas Tech

“Going into LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo will be a great atmosphere. They are always close to a sellout. I played there, coached there quite a bit. It’s a good atmosphere. They’re good fans,” Wells said when asked how BYU fans will receive the new Big 12 setup. “I think the fan base is very comparable, you know, to here in the Big 12. And I think it’s a great atmosphere to play in and I think it’ll be very well received.”

Dave Aranda, Baylor

“A lot of respect for their head coaches, a lot of them I know personally. A lot of respect for the brand of football that they play; it’s physical. It’s, you know, simple can be sophisticated. It’s execution-oriented. I think the brands with all of those teams that are coming in all exude toughness and execution. So I’m excited about it and I know our recruits are as well.”

Gary Patterson, TCU

“You got Cincinnati which has a great recruiting base up where they’re at; a hard place to go play. Houston is always going to have speed and skill. And then you know, BYU, they’ve got a big group and they’re really throwing the football. Central Florida’s got one of the largest universities in the United States. They have a great recruiting base; you have a place with the transfer rule, you’re going to always end up playing against a great skill level. So all the places have their advantages and all of them have a media presence. I think it’s all a big positive.”

Lance Leipold, Kansas

“I think all of these teams, at least from a football perspective, have all been highly successful, you know, where they’ve been playing before and played in some big ball games. Nationally, you know, in the last few years, whether it be Coach Herman, Coach Sumlin back at Houston. At UCF, Coach Frost, Coach Heupel, and now Coach Malzahn. So you’ve got great pedigree there as head coaches and reputations. Coach Fickell is an outstanding coach. We’ve had chances through our time at Buffalo to be around them and during some of the summer camp circuits. So I have great respect for them. BYU is one that I don’t have as much familiarity with, but their name and brand speak for itself.  So you’re bringing in some quality programs.”

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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