Update: 12/9 11:24 AM: Well, that should settle that. BYU will not count.
Bob Bowlsby said Big 12’s initial proposal included BYU & Army counting toward P5 non-league requirement; but Big 12 decided against that— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 9, 2015
UPDATE: 12/8: 4:31 PM: A Big 12 representative, via email, informed me that BYU will not count in their power conference schedule requirement. We'll see if this changes in the future, due to confusion among Big 12 ADs, per McMurphy.
UPDATE: 12/8 2:02 PM: Well, that didn't take long. Now it isn't clear if the Big 12 will count BYU or not. Again, from McMurphy:
Couple of Big 12 ADs said BYU & Army would count toward Big 12’s non-league Power 5 requirement but Big 12 spokesman says they do not— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 8, 2015
The Big 12 has not yet responded to our request for clarification. Sounds like some folks on that side need to talk with each other and figure everything out.
Those jokes about Baylor's schedules are funny, but it appears that we won't be able to make them forever, as the Big 12 is taking a step to make sure everybody in their conference is playing a more difficult schedule. Today, the conference announced that moving forward, all teams must schedule at least one Power Five opponent, or Notre Dame, and that they can't play more than one FCS opponent in a season, joining the Big Ten, ACC and SEC in similar scheduling requirements.
A call to ask the Big 12 if BYU is included in this policy was not immediately returned, but Brett McMurphy of ESPN is saying that BYU, along with Army, will count as a P5 program as far as the Big 12 is concerned.
Like B1G & SEC, games vs. BYU & Army will count toward Big 12’s requirement of 1 non-league Power 5 opponent. ACC counts BYU, but not Army— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 8, 2015
There aren't too many Big 12 teams on future BYU schedules. The Cougars face West Virginia next season in a neutral site game in Maryland, but they're the only one. Cougar fans would undoubtedly like more games with Big 12 teams, since the team not only badly wants to join the league, but also recruits in Texas, and squares off against a few of these programs on the trail.
The Big 12's new policy won't change existing contracts, and since most of the conference already has P5 games on the slate in the near future, it's unlikely to result in BYU getting more Big 12 games in the next few seasons, but it does remove a potential obstacle for games farther down the line. And hey, if nothing else, it's another reminder that many conferences and athletic directors consider BYU to be a Power Five-caliber program, even if they aren't cashing Power Five checks at the moment.