BYU’s era of independence opened up the Cougars to a whole new world of opportunities, one of them being scheduling. The Cougars have played in a host of scenic and notable venues, including some NFL coliseums. They also have been able to test themselves against some of the best programs college football has to offer. Just in the last three seasons, BYU has played the likes of UCF, Navy, Houston, Tennessee, USC, Washington and Wisconsin.
However, there are several FBS programs BYU has yet to play on the gridiron, over 30 in fact. The Cougars do have a few on the schedule in the coming years such as Arkansas, Georgia Southern, NC State, Minnesota, Army and Virginia Tech.
However, there are still numerous schools that have never met up with BYU nor are they scheduled in the future. Let’s run through five programs BYU and athletic director Tom Holmoe should schedule ASAP.
First of all, this would be one of the top matchups any given Saturday among teams not in a Power Five conference. The Mountaineers have come a long way since being the unknown Cinderella who beat Michigan in The Big House in 2007. They jumped from the FCS to the Sun Belt in 2014 and have done nothing but win since. App State has turned in four double-digit win seasons in their first seven years at the FBS level. They also have appeared in the AP Top 25 each of the last three seasons and they have never lost a bowl game, going 6-0. As far as Group of Five opponents go, it doesn’t get much better than Appalachian State.
The Tigers are one of the biggest brands in football. They have two national titles, the last coming in 2010 behind their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton. They have been playing football since 1902 and have 782 wins to their name. They regularly play on the national stage and are seven years removed from a national title game appearance. They also have played in two New Year’s Six bowls since 2014. They boast eight SEC titles and three Heisman Trophy winners. If BYU were to play at Jordan-Hare Stadium, it would be one of the biggest venues BYU has played in front of, against one of college football’s most storied teams.
Clemson is one of the hottest tickets in college football right now. Since the inception of the CFP in 2014, Clemson has appeared in all but one of the brackets. They also defeated Alabama to win the 2016 and 2018 national championships. In today’s game, they might be the most recognizable brand in the sport. Memorial Stadium is one of the most respected venues in college sports. BYU would take the field against a sea of orange and white as the Tigers descend onto the field after touching Howard’s Rock, one of the biggest traditions in college football, while contending with the rabid fans of “Death Valley.”
It doesn’t get much bigger than playing the Gators in The Swamp. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is one of the most feared venues in college football, housing nearly 90,000 of some of the most passionate fans in the sport. Playing the Gators on a Saturday afternoon in Gainesville is one of the biggest stages on which BYU could play, and one of the hottest, depending on when the game is played. Florida has enjoyed consistent success over the last two decades, including two national championships in 2006 and 2008 as well as an active streak of three New Year’s Six bowl appearances in a row. Head coach Dan Mullen has the Gators playing at a high level and they are always in the hunt for an SEC title. Utah was able to schedule a home-and-home with the Gators, with Florida going to Salt Lake in 2023. There’s no reason why BYU couldn’t do the same (the SEC views BYU as a Power Five opponent).
One more SEC team makes the list. South Carolina does not have the storied success like their SEC counterparts in Florida and Auburn, but they are still a recognizable brand in the sport. Williams-Brice Stadium gets plenty rowdy when the Gamecocks are playing well. From 2011 to 2013, they won 11 games in each of those three seasons and in 2010, they won the SEC East division. They have been playing football since 1903 and play in the toughest conference college football has to offer. Scoring a scheduling deal with them when instantly boost BYU’s strength of schedule and national respect. BYU has made just one trip in their program’s history to the Palmetto State, which came last year in the epic battle with Coastal Carolina.