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Kalani Sitake Talks Conference Realignment, Colorado To Big 12

Aug 2, 2023, 1:29 PM

PROVO, Utah – A lot has changed in college football since Kalani Sitake took over as the BYU football coach in 2016. The Playoff is expanding from four teams to 12, Texas and Oklahoma are going to play in the SEC, USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, and of course, BYU to the Big 12.

Joining BYU in the Big 12 Conference next year is the Colorado Buffaloes.

The Buffs announced last week that they would be leaving the Pac-12 for their historical home in the Big 12 beginning in the 2024-25 academic year. By adding the Buffs, it creates the possibility for Kalani Sitake to have head coaching battles against Coach Prime, Deion Sanders.

Sitake was asked if he ever envisioned himself coaching against Sanders in the same conference.

“I respect all coaches that do their job and Deion has done a great job of mentoring young men,” Sitake said after BYU’s first fall camp practice.

Sitake pointed to his fandom of the San Francisco 49ers and the memories he has of Coach Prime the player.

“As a fan, I liked him when he played for the Niners and I didn’t like him when he didn’t play for the Niners,” Sitake jokingly said. “I can’t really speak for [Colorado to the Big 12] other than that. I’m just a big college football fan. So I really appreciate what all the coaches do.”

Conference Expansion rages on

While all of the conference expansion noise continues in college athletics, BYU, for once, knows its place in the power structure of college football. A big change from all of the uncertainty they experienced as an Independent during the previous decade.

“I’m just happy that we’re in the Big 12 going into this year,” Sitake said. “I’m glad that Brett Yormark has done a great job as Commissioner. I mentioned at [Big 12] Media Days that I like his leadership and I’m willing to follow it and I’m having fun being part of the conference and I can’t really say much more than that.”

When coaches get to fall camp, they become entrenched with practices and the season ahead. BYU opens its inaugural season as a Big 12 member on September 2 against Sam Houston. So when asked if he keeps tabs on conference realignment moves, Sitake chuckled and said he had to ask his SID (Sports Information Director) Brett Pyne, if there was any news he needed to be aware of.

Kalani Sitake is sticking to football

Against the backdrop of Sitake’s BYU squad kicking off practice, the Pac-12 Presidents and ADs learned about their reported media rights opportunity with Apple. Then there are the reports of Oregon and Washington being courted potentially by the Big Ten. All of these moves are not at the front of mind for Sitake.

“I just put my head down and go to work,” Sitake said. “There are a lot of other people that are smarter and have the right responsibilities that can do all of that with conference realignment and administrative stuff. I just stick to coaching football.”

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 in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Kalani Sitake Talks Conference Realignment, Colorado To Big 12