BYU opened their media day broadcast yesterday with a tease of some scheduling announcements, but fans hoping to learn about new future matchups were disappointed, as the scheduling update was just about TV times for the 2016 season. HINT: you’re going to want to stay up late this season.
But just because BYU didn’t formally announce any new games didn’t mean that fans didn’t get a tease for a new potential matchup. When BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was told that BYU played a member of every Power 5 conference except the ACC this year, he mentioned that BYU AD Tom Holmoe was working on a series with one.
Sitake said Tom Holmoe is working on scheduling an ACC team. BYU plays teams from every other P5 conference this season.— Jay Drew (@drewjay) June 30, 2016
So, let’s put on our detective hats here for a second. Who could they be talking about?
BYU fans would probably be hoping for Notre Dame here, as the Irish still owe the Cougars trips to Provo after signing a multi-game agreement right when BYU went independent, but that appears pretty unlikely, given Notre Dame’s scheduling commitments with the ACC, California schools, and Navy. Plus, they’re not really an ACC team.
It also seems reasonable to rule out Virginia, given that the two schools already have three future games schedules, and Bronco Mendenhall probably isn’t anxious to get yet another game set up with his old team. BYU has already recently played Georgia Tech and Florida State, making rematches with either of those programs seem a bit unlikely, too.
BYU’s 2017 schedule is mostly set already, but there are some spots in the 2018 and 2019 slates that could be filled by another Power 5 program, although finding an ACC team to fill one of those might be tricky, given who else is free. If BYU signs a home-and-home with an ACC program, it seems more likely it would be for 2020 or beyond.
So, who else could be on the list? Let’s take a look at some of the open dates in the future, and make a guess:
The Orange have some of the fewest future games scheduled in the country, with multiple open dates from 2018-2020, making a home-and-home a relatively easy fit. BYU gets a road game or two in the east, and Syracuse is only about 70 miles away from Palmyra, making it easy to head out a day early and take the players on a church history trip if they wanted. BYU is 1-1 all time against Syracuse, winning their last meeting, in Provo, back in 2002.
Duke would fit the profile of a game BYU would like to get, as it is an academically-oriented private university that wouldn’t have a massive talent advantage over the Cougars. Duke’s schedule commitments means that it would be very hard to get a game in before 2022 though, but maybe that isn’t a deal breaker for BYU. The Cougars and Blue Devils have never played before.
It would be a bit fitting, given that BYUtv broadcast BYU’s memorable upset of the Hurricanes right before BYU Media Day started, if this was the series Sitake teased during the presentation. Miami has no games scheduled in 2022 and 2023, and has shown a willingness to play on the road at much less prestigious programs, like Appalachian State, or Cincinnati, so getting them to come to Provo doesn’t seem impossible. BYU is 1-1 all time against Miami, with their win, of course, coming in 1990.
The Cardinals have been a consistently solid program over the last several years, and would be a very solid addition to any future BYU schedule. Getting big non-conference games is tricky for Louisville, given their annual commitment to play Kentucky, as well as rolling games with Notre Dame, but Louisville does have plenty of open schedule space in 2021-2022. BYU is 0-1 all time against Louisville, losing 28-10 in 2001.