Five Takeaways From BYU Football’s Inaugural Big 12 Schedule

Jan 31, 2023, 5:26 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU football finally knows who they will be playing in their first Big 12 schedule. The 2023 Big 12 football schedule dropped on Tuesday.

It’s a fascinating schedule that might be among the toughest in the league.

In case you’ve missed it, here’s the schedule.

2023 BYU Football Schedule

* = Denotes Big 12 game

Sept. 2 – Sam Houston

Sept. 9 – Southern Utah

Sept. 16 – at Arkansas

Sept. 23 – at Kansas

Sept. 29 – Cincinnati

Oct. 7 – BYE

Oct. 14 – at TCU

Oct. 21 – Texas Tech

Oct. 28 – at Texas

Nov. 4 – at West Virginia

Nov. 11 – Iowa State

Nov. 18 – Oklahoma

Nov. 25 – at Oklahoma State

Dec. 2 – Big 12 Football Championship Game (Arlington, Texas)

Here are my initial five takeaways from the schedule release.

#1 Intriguing Big 12 opener

A smart move by the leaders at the Big 12 office to put BYU at Kansas. Some might think that’s an underwhelming game to kick off BYU’s time in the Big 12. But, to me, it’s a savvy move. Any other time BYU and Kansas square off, it’s probably an ESPN+ game.

But with BYU playing its first Big 12 game and Kansas riding high from its entertaining season a year ago, this could be an intriguing game in the national college football landscape.

Kansas returns one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country in Jalon Daniels. So there could be some high-scoring in this one if BYU’s offense is clicking right away with Pitt transfer Kedon Slovis at quarterback.

#2 BYU is the only Big 12 newcomer that has Texas and Oklahoma

Quite the coup for BYU to pull in both Texas and Oklahoma on the schedule this season. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione has a strong relationship with BYU’s Tom Holmoe from their past time on the NCAA Selection Committee. So there’s a healthy respect there.

Also, Holmoe worked with Texas AD Chris Del Conte while Del Conte was at TCU.

Oklahoma and Texas fans on social media and message boards seemed OK with BYU on the schedule. I’m sure Texas and Oklahoma would love to be in the SEC right now, but if they have to put up with the Big 12 for another year, they could have worse outcomes than playing BYU.

Many Oklahoma fans were hoping to get a one-time trip to Provo. And they got it.

For BYU to land Oklahoma as Senior Day is quite the coup for the Cougars. After more than a decade of FCS teams lining up Senior Day, having a blueblood brand roll into Provo is a big deal.

The storylines are endless for when BYU travels to Austin again, nine years after Taysom Hill hurdled through the Longhorns attempt to “put the ‘T’ back in Texas.”

#3 Big 12 gives BYU a Friday game before General Conference

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has spoken highly of the report in “the room” among the 12 universities that will make up the Big 12 after Texas and Oklahoma leave. He always mentions having true partnerships with member institutions and anyone that aligns with the Big 12.

The Big 12 showed that partnership with BYU in the schedule release. Each October, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (BYU’s Ownership) holds a semi-annual General Conference. Since being an Independent, BYU has never played on that Saturday on General Conference weekend. Instead, they typically schedule a Friday night game with Utah State or another made-for-TV event.

That tradition continues into the Big 12. BYU will host Cincinnati on Friday, September 29, leaving BYU to enjoy its General Conference weekend.

In October, I put together a projected Big 12 schedule and called for BYU to travel to Cincinnati on a Friday night for Conference weekend. This works better as BYU remains home after taking on a fellow Big 12 newcomer.

#4 Missed out on the Big 12 Champions

Maybe it’s because TCU was in the National Championship Game, and Texas and Oklahoma tend to suffocate any narratives out of the Big 12. But people seem to forget that Kansas State won the Big 12 Conference last season.

BYU misses out on playing K-State. The Cougars last played the Wildcats in the 1997 Cotton Bowl in Dallas. They’ll have a chance down the road to meet again, but Kansas State under Chris Klieman is emerging as one of the best programs in the league going forward.

#5 Rekindling the old TCU rivalry

It feels like ancient history these days, but the BYU/TCU games in the Mountain West Conference were epic. BYU came on the losing end of those games in the final three meetings as conference foes in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

But you think about how that series evolved quickly into a must-see rivalry. Former TCU head coach Gary Patterson put BYU helmets on TCU tackling dummies in training camp as motivation to take down the Cougars in 2008.

In 2006, BYU had a massive breakthrough win taking down a nationally-ranked TCU squad in Ft. Worth. Who knows if the BYU/TCU series ever reaches the heights it once did in those Mountain West years? But for BYU and TCU fans that remember those games, there was a lot of intensity to those matchups. It will be good to see that rivalry renewed on October 14 in Ft. Worth.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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Five Takeaways From BYU Football’s Inaugural Big 12 Schedule