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BYU Coach Kalani Sitake Remains Bullish On This Year’s Big 12

Sep 20, 2023, 10:28 AM | Updated: 10:29 am

PROVO, Utah – The new Big 12 has stumbled out of the gates in 2023. At this point, the doomsday scenario for the league could be on the horizon: a Texas and Oklahoma Big 12 Championship Game before the two leave for the SEC.

Kansas State lost as a road favorite to former Big 8 rival Missouri last week. Oklahoma State was embarrassed by South Alabama in Stillwater, falling to USA 33-7.

Iowa State lost on the road to one of the top MAC teams in Ohio. Baylor already has a loss to Texas State. Then Cincinnati, after jumping out to a 2-0 start, loses to in-state rival Miami (OH) for the first time since 2005.

Big 12 is off to a slow start in 2023

It hasn’t been a great start for the Big 12. But don’t tell that to BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

Sitake is prepping for his first Big 12 Conference test on Saturday against 3-0 Kansas. This is a moment that BYU football has been waiting for since September 10, 2021, when they officially received the invitation to join the conference. He still thinks highly of the Big 12 in 2023.

“They’re all well-coached teams with tons of talent. That’s still the same,” said Sitake. “I don’t think you can judge it all on one week or three weeks. But we’re about to get to that point now where everyone’s playing in the conference. It’s about matchups. You can’t sit there and be able to predict what’s going to happen from the beginning with no games. So it’s not like you can get three games in and say, ‘OK, now we know who’s going to have success in the conference.'”

Kalani Sitake: “Every team is dangerous”

The past three seasons have produced six Big 12 Conference Championship Game participants. Three different conference champions have emerged in each of those seasons. Coming into the year, many national pundits viewed the Big 12 as potentially the deepest league in America.

The depth might not be as deep as years past, but Sitake knows that his team will have to bring their best to find ways to come away victorious.

“Every team is dangerous in this conference,” Sitake said. “We happen to play one in Kansas right now. So that’s all we’re focused on. But I know all those coaches. I’ve been able to be around them in meetings, and I see their teams. I’ve watched enough film to know that these guys are really good coaches and they know how to get their teams ready. I need to do my part to match the level of play and standard that they have. That means starting this week with Kansas.”

BYU (3-0) vs. Kansas (3-0)

Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023

Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, Kansas)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 9 a.m.

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 X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Coach Kalani Sitake Remains Bullish On This Year’s Big 12