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Baylor Coach Comments On How He Sees BYU Fitting In New Big 12

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Dave Aranda of the Baylor Bears watches warmups before the college football game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

WACO, TexasΒ – Baylor head coach Dave Aranda is no stranger to BYU football. Every stop Aranda has made in his coaching career over the past decade has crossed paths with BYU.

A guru on the defensive side of the football, Aranda’s stops at Hawaii, Utah State, Wisconsin, and LSU have all included games against Independent BYU. So if anyone knows the styles over BYU football over the years, it’s Aranda.

That knowledge will come in handy as the Cougars are now set to become an annual matchup for the Bears when they join the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

“Well, yeah, so the long view of it is I think they are going to be a great fit [in the Big 12 Conference],” said Aranda. “…There’s a lot of respect for BYU. For their physicality, for their maturity … for their toughness. There’s a lot of athleticism there. But they’re very much the gym rat that’s the bully. They have been able to pull out wins in all different types of ways.”

In many ways, BYU is a blueprint for how Baylor will try to operate going forward under Aranda. Again, a religious school with some limitations, but they play a physical, mature brand of football that everyone around the country knows about.

Only in his second year at Baylor, the signs of growth are already showing as the Bears are knocking on the door on becoming bowl eligible after winning only two games last year in a COVID-shortened season.

BYU football brand is well known to Dave Aranda

Aranda worked at some of BYU’s old rivals in Hawaii and Utah State under Gary Andersen. Those programs have no love loss for BYU. So the second-year headman at Baylor knows the type of effort and physicality BYU will bring to every game.

“Just when I was at Hawaii and at Utah State, I felt that very much just with the coaching circles that I was with at that time. Since that time, I have had a ton of respect for [BYU]. And then now knowing their coaches and the direction they are headed and what Kalani has been able to grow there. A lot of respect. It’s going to be a good matchup.”

Aranda isn’t the only coach on the Baylor staff that knows a thing or two about BYU. Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes is well-versed in BYU’s program, having spent the past three years in the same role on Sitake’s staff, and working for Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall.

Grimes brought with him offensive line coach Eric Mateos who spent two years on BYU’s staff.

It’s a unique matchup for a series that has only produced two meetings all-time. But that will change in a hurry as the two teams will meet this Saturday, then next year in Provo during BYU’s final season as an Independent. And then as Big 12 foes in 2023, depending on how the divisions line up in the league.

No. 19 BYU at Baylor

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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