ESPN College Football Analyst Weighs In On BYU’s First Big 12 Schedule

Feb 7, 2023, 1:33 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm

PROVO, Utah – ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy praised BYU when weighing in on their first Big 12 schedule.

The former National Champion at Alabama and NFL quarterback believes BYU is ready for the challenge of Power Five football.

“BYU, I think, is very well-equipped to be able to step right into the Big 12,” said McElory on his podcast Always College Football. “They’ve played gauntlets of schedules before being an Independent. They’ve gone back-to-back at Tennessee, and then USC comes to their place. They’ve played against four or five Pac-12 opponents in a given season.”

ESPN College Football analyst Greg McElroy sees BYU as “well-equipped” for Big 12

BYU opens its inaugural Big 12 football schedule at Kansas on September 23. Notable games on the schedule include a visit to Fort Worth to face TCU on October 14, Texas Tech in Provo on October 21, plus the outgoing Big 12 members in Texas on the Forty Acres on October 28, and Oklahoma for BYU’s Senior Day on November 18.

“I think the Big 12, collectively, is a pretty good brand of football,” said McElroy. “But I think BYU is extremely well-equipped to be able to handle it week-in and week-out. Especially if they can replace a couple of key pieces off last year’s roster.”

Key pieces to replace for BYU

The most significant piece to replace will be quarterback Jaren Hall. Hall is off to the NFL. Replacing him is graduate transfer Kedon Slovis from Pitt and, before that, USC. According to BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, Slovis was BYU’s number one transfer portal QB target.

The Cougars also added the No. 1 JUCO quarterback in the 2023 cycle, Riverside City College’s Jake Retzlaff, in the mix to compete with Slovis.

Another key piece to replace for BYU is star wide receiver Puka Nacua. Kody Epps, Chase Roberts, and Keanu Hill are the projected top receivers entering spring ball for BYU. Will one of those guys emerge as the do-it-all playmaker Nacua was?

McElroy has always been complimentary of BYU during his time at ESPN. The former Southlake Carroll High prospect in Texas held an offer from BYU out of high school. McKay Jacobson was one of his top wide receiver targets in his prep career. Jacobson was a four-year starter at BYU. The former WR caught the game-winning touchdown for BYU in Arlington, Texas, against then No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009.

Maybe BYU will have another upset or two up their sleeves this year now that the Sooners are a conference foe for at least one season.

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)

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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ESPN College Football Analyst Weighs In On BYU’s First Big 12 Schedule