Opinion: BYU Has Biggest Brand Left In Big 12 After Texas, Oklahoma Leave

May 19, 2023, 1:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The new Big 12 is going to be fascinating after Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC in 2024. There are so many questions with the league.

Who becomes the powerhouse? How will the league fare in the 12-team Playoff era? Will Commissioner Brett Yormark add more programs in the coming years? Who has the biggest brand with Texas and Oklahoma moving on?

One national college football writer has an answer to that last question.

He believes BYU has the biggest brand remaining in the new Big 12 Conference.

Pete Fiutak from joined Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry on the KSL Sports Zone’s Unrivaled on Thursday. He shared his strong take on the new Big 12’s best brand.

“Is BYU the biggest program in the conference? If it’s not them, then who is it,” asked Fiutak.

The league membership in the Big 12 beginning in 2024 will consist of Baylor, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia.

Fiutak continued, “Look at someone like the Big Ten. You’ve got the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, of Minnesota, of Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State. The big giant schools in each state. No offense to BYU or anything, but look, the Pac-12’s got the University of Utah, University of Colorado, University of Arizona, University of Washington. There’s something to be said about having THE state. And Texas leaving means there goes the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. So in terms of just national and international interest, who’s your anchor tenant at the mall? Why is everyone coming to this thing?”

Fiutak on BYU: “Biggest national program in the Big 12 to start”

The Big 12 has programs that have had national success in recent years. Last season, TCU reached the National Championship Game. Kansas State is the defending Big 12 Champion and has one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history as a program.

Baylor won the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl two years ago but dipped back to 6-7 last season.

But does a handful of seasons make a brand in the national landscape of college football? Fiutak doesn’t think so.

“Is it TCU [for the biggest Big 12 brand]? No, not really. Kansas State? No. Kansas for basketball? Sure. But football? Eh. So who is it,” asked Fiutak. “You would kind of have to say that BYU is probably the biggest national program in the Big 12 to start.”

BYU is one of two programs in the new Big 12 that has won a National Championship. The Cougars claimed theirs in 1984 and TCU won a title in 1938.

UCF claims a National Championship from the 2017 season after going undefeated and the Colley Matrix anointing them the champs.

But BYU is in a rare group in the new Big 12. The Cougars also boast a Heisman Trophy winner (Ty Detmer), multiple Outland Trophy recipients, a Doak Walker Award, Davey O’Brien, and Sammy Baugh winners.

Impact of Brands on Big 12 Realignment

Fiutak then turned that argument into conference realignment talk. He made the case that the Big 12’s lack of marquee brands hurts their chances of landing a school from another Power Five conference.

“So this whole idea that the Big 12 is going to expand, ‘Oh, we’re just gonna go get Colorado and Utah and Arizona.’ Why would those other schools do that? Because they would, all of a sudden, they would be the big fish in the pond. Kind of fun. But that’s not really what these other schools are going for at this point.”

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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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Opinion: BYU Has Biggest Brand Left In Big 12 After Texas, Oklahoma Leave