First Scheduling Domino Drops For BYU Football As Future Big 12 Member

Nov 2, 2021, 2:18 PM
BYU Football - USF - Gabe Summers...
PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 25 : Demetris Harris #64 of the South Florida Bulls dives on a fumble while being tackled by Gabe Summers #98 during their game September 25, 2021 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The first scheduling domino has dropped for BYU football when they join the Big 12 Conference in 2023. That inaugural season for BYU in the Big 12 Conference won’t include a non-conference game against the USF Bulls.

BYU and USF begin a new two-game series to open the 2022 season, BYU’s final year as an FBS Independent. The two programs will play that game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. USF’s return trip to Provo was initially scheduled for 2023, but that’s now getting pushed back.

BYU Football game against USF pushed back to 2026

USF announced a home-and-home series with UConn on Tuesday for the 2023 and 2028 seasons. With that addition to the Bulls schedule, their return trip to Provo is now pushed back to October 17, 2026.

BYU and USF completed their first two-game series earlier this year, with the Cougars taking down the Bulls 35-27. The all-time series is split at one game each, with USF winning the 2019 contest in Tampa.

Since being invited to the Big 12 Conference back in September, BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe has been hard at work trying to move games from their future Independent schedules.

“The first thing we do is we look at our contracts, and we have many varying and widely different contracts with different teams,” said Holmoe to the Zone Sports Network powered by KSL Sports last month. “Those were contracts that took a lot of time to put together and schedules that took a lot of time to put together. And now, some of those will have to unwind. So we’re in the process of that right now, looking at each individual year and the games that will fit into the schedule of a Big 12 [schedule]. We’re in that process right now.”

Unwinding independent schedules

The big question for BYU and members of the new Big 12 Conference in the future is the number of league games that the league will play. Will it be eight or nine games? The Big 12 Conference plays a round-robin schedule that includes nine games for the 10-team league.

In October, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told KSL Sports that conversations on the eight or nine-game league schedules began last month.

Power five conferences such as the Pac-12 have hinted at possibly going to an eight-game conference schedule to allow for games in their newly formed “Alliance” with the ACC and Big Ten.

The Big 12 doesn’t currently have a scheduling alliance with any of the Power Five leagues.

With USF now off the 2023 BYU football schedule, the Cougars now have 11 games still left on the slate, including a home opener against the Tennessee Volunteers from the SEC on September 2nd, 2023.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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