November Means Something Again For BYU Football
Nov 3, 2023, 9:12 AM | Updated: 9:18 am
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – BYU football will close out the 2023 season with a schedule that includes West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.
All four of those teams have aspirations to play in the Big 12 Championship Game. In Oklahoma’s case, they are targeting the College Football Playoff.
That’s a glimpse into BYU’s new life in the Big 12 Conference.
With three league losses, BYU is likely out of the conversation to make a run to Arlington for the Big 12 Championship. But the ability to play spoiler for one of those four teams that have a title on their mind is a great motivator as BYU gets up for the final month.
BYU football navigating its first year in the Big 12 Conference
Plus, the victories added to the win column for BYU would only help the Cougars climb up the Big 12’s bowl pecking order with postseason opportunities against Power Five opponents.
It’s a far better situation than what BYU was dealing with as an Independent.
Opponents such as Utah Tech, New Mexico State, Idaho State, and UMass consistently lined up the November schedules.
Yes, there were games against USC, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Stanford, and even rival Utah in November during BYU’s time as an Independent. But the questions around those matchups always centered on, “What does this game mean?”
Those questions were more prominent when BYU already had six wins in its back pocket and they knew what their bowl destination would be, win or lose, for a November tilt.
No longer asking, “What does this game mean?”
When Oklahoma rolls into Provo in two weeks, there will be zero storylines with that question involved.
That’s a welcomed change for a BYU program that has been clamoring for this month to mean something. BYU hasn’t experienced a conference race since 2010, when they were in the Mountain West Conference. It’s their first year going into the final month of the regular season in a power conference.
“This November schedule is going to be a fun time,” said BYU linebacker Max Tooley. “We’ve got a lot of top Big 12 ranked teams. Oklahoma’s obviously Top 25. So, you know, they’re doing really great. It’s gonna be a brutal schedule, but us being who we are, we love to attack the challenge. We love to prove people wrong. So I feel like it’s all set up for us to go out and finish the season as strong as we can.”
This year has been up-and-down for BYU—especially on offense, where they have had issues along the offensive line and no sign of a ground attack. But entering the final month of the season with games that have meaning gives BYU the chance to circle the wagons and rewrite the narrative of the season.
BYU vs. West Virginia
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Location: Milan Puskar Stadium
Kickoff: 5 p.m.
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at Noon
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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