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BYU’s Move To Big 12 Impacted 2023 Pac-12 Football Schedule

Jan 18, 2023, 4:57 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 11:18 am
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BYU football caused some headaches for the Pac-12 by backing out of a game against the USC Trojans. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football moving to the Big 12 Conference has caused a lot of ripple effects in scheduling. One league in particular struck by BYU leaving Independence was the Pac-12.

BYU had five games against teams from the Conference of Champions two years ago. In 2023? Zero.

Trimming down the large inventory of games and being available for their new league home has been a top priority for BYU AD Tom Holmoe since the Cougars were invited to the Big 12 in 2021. One of the games that became a casualty of BYU’s move was a road game at USC in Los Angeles.

RELATED: BYU Football Offers Ole Miss QB Commit Demond Williams Jr.

Canceled BYU/USC game left the Trojans with an unusual bye week

BYU was scheduled to take on USC in a regular season finale on November 25, 2023. The move to cancel that third game in a three-game series was announced last April, leaving the Trojans with some challenges in their final Pac-12 season.

The Los Angeles Times reported that after the BYU game went away, USC was facing 12 consecutive weeks without a bye.

On Wednesday, the Pac-12 Conference released the 2023 schedule. Sure enough, USC’s bye week lands on Thanksgiving weekend, where the BYU game was originally going to be played.

The Trojans got creative and scheduled a game against San Jose State for Week Zero on August 26. That move allowed USC to break up its 12-game grind, giving them an early bye week on September 16.

BYU will open its 2023 schedule against Conference-USA’s Sam Houston on September 2, Southern Utah on September 9, then a trip to SEC Country to face Arkansas on September 16 before facing nine yet-to-be-announced Big 12 games.

BYU football always played Pac-12 teams as an Independent

When BYU was an FBS Independent, the Cougars helped fill late November dates for Pac-12 programs. Due to the Pac-12 allowing programs like USC and Stanford to play mid-season rivalries at Notre Dame, BYU was the perfect filler at the end of the regular season.

BYU closed out four Independent regular seasons against Pac-12 teams: Cal (2014), Utah (2018), USC (2021), and Stanford (2022).

The next time BYU is scheduled to play a team from the Pac-12 is in 2024. That’s when they renew their rivalry with two-time Pac-12 Champion Utah again. Utah is scheduled annually from 2024 to 2028. BYU also has games scheduled against Arizona in 2026 and 2027. Plus a home game against Stanford in 2031.

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 Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU’s Move To Big 12 Impacted 2023 Pac-12 Football Schedule