clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How hard would overhauling BYU’s schedule be if they join the Big 12?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 BYU at UNLV Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tom Holmoe has spent years piecing together schedules for an independent BYU. With Big 12 invitations reportedly coming, what will BYU do with all those scheduled games?

I can’t imagine the hours and hours it has taken for BYU to schedule in the independence era. Tom Holmoe was once asked what scheduling was like and he said something to the effect of “well, you call them on the phone and ask if they want to play a game?”

Independent scheduling must have taken hundreds of phone calls and hours of delicate negotiations. What will it be like to call and cancel so many of the series BYU administrators worked so hard to set up? BYU has appeared to be friendly through all the changes from others, allowing teams to adjust as needed and not burning teams who cancel in public.

But what would BYU actually do if they needed to reschedule?

Starting with a couple of big assumptions that would have sounded pretty crazy a couple of weeks ago, let’s assume BYU is joining the Big 12 starting in 2023 and they plan to continue to play nine conference games a year.

There are a few simple but tough things that will open up the schedule. First, Boise State—thanks for all the games, but the rest are canceled. Let’s talk in a few years about maybe playing a series or two. It seems to me it’s too hard to say “let’s cancel all these games except for maybe two in 2028.” Just cancel them all.

Next, USC. Congrats. You played a home and home with BYU. They originally scheduled us as a two-for-one, but after playing two games, I’m afraid BYU won’t be available for the third. Hopefully it’s not super hard for you to find another high level opponent to come play in late November. I’m sure you’d do fine.

There are some harder questions. Even if BYU starts playing in the Big 12 in 2022, some of the toughest problems deal with the 2022 schedule. Like does Arkansas still come play in Provo in 2022 knowing we can’t make the return trip in 2023?

There are also two road games in 2024 that BYU needs as home games in 2022. Wyoming and East Carolina. Do they cancel? Buyout? Could keep maybe one with Hawaii on schedule in 2024.

One interesting solution to this is to call Arkansas and offer to play the 2022 game in Las Vegas or Dallas. This would let BYU keep a marquee 2022 opponent without overloading 2023. Would Arkansas rather keep one game and have to find a new home game, or cancel both and find a new series? Tough question. Using scheduling information from, how hard would managing and rebuilding BYU’s future schedule be?

Next, Virginia. Bronco Mendenhall has said he wants this series canceled. He’ll probably get his wish, but needs to still show up and play this fall regardless.

Utah State is also going to be a big question. I don’t think you can cancel those games. BYU has spent a lot of time the last decade talking about the importance of in-state rivalries. Committing to always playing the Aggies isn’t necessary, but you probably can’t just tear up and signed, in-state football contracts.

I assume you mostly keep the FCS games because you still need one of those.

And lastly, when BYU originally agreed to travel to Coastal Carolina with five day’s notice, the ADs said they had a handshake agreement that it would be a home and home. I haven’t forgotten about that and I hope neither has BYU. Hopefully someday when BYU needs an extra home game we’ll see Mormons vs Mullets part two.


Only 11 games are scheduled, so BYU still needs one game. Does BYU play Notre Dame in Vegas as was rumored a few weeks ago? If BYU does move the Arkansas game to a neutral site and adds Notre Dame, it only leaves BYU with five home games.

09/03 - at USF—This game pairs with a game in Provo in 2021. End of series.

09/10 - Baylor—This game pairs with a game in Provo in 2021. End of scheduled series and now a conference game moving forward.

09/17 - at Oregon—Single game. End of series.

09/24 - Wyoming—Pairs with 2024

09/30 - Utah State

10/15 - Arkansas—Pairs with 2023. I would offer to move this game to Vegas or Dallas and try to make it a one-game series.

10/22 - at Liberty—Pairs with a game played in Provo in 2019. End of series.

11/05 - at Boise State—Thanks for all the games. Even though the series has always started in Boise, for me, this would be the end of the series for a while.

11/19 - Dixie State—FCS

11/26 - at Stanford—Pairs with a game in in Provo in 2025

TBA - East Carolina—Pairs with a game scheduled for 2024


Now we get to what would be BYU’s first Big 12 season. Let’s organize the lists by games to keep and games to cut.

Games to keep

09/02 - Tennessee—A “free” SEC home game since BYU traveled to Knoxville in 2019.

09/16 - at Utah State

11/18 - Southern Utah

11/11 - at UCF—Now a conference game.

Games to cut

09/09 - at Virginia—Should be fairly simple to cancel a pair of games along with the game in Provo in 2025.

09/23 - at Arkansas—Very tricky depending on what happens in 2022. Does BYU cancel both games? Try to make it a single-game series? Or try to buyout an SEC return game?

09/29 - Rice—Cancel with away game in 2025

10/07 - at Fresno State—Cancel with home game in 2027. BYU might want to consider keeping this game and moving Southern Utah to later year. There are a lot of fans and recruits in California and by 2027, there is more room.

10/21 - Boise State

10/28 - USF—This is the fourth game in a four-game series. It’s a free home game for them and they shouldn’t complain when it gets canceled.

11/04 - UNLV—Cancel with away game in 2024

11/25 - at USC—Cancel or buy out. 2-for-1 changed to a home and home.


Games to keep

09/07 - at Utah

10/04 - Utah State

08/31 - UCF—Now a conference game.

11/16 - Dixie State/Utah Tech

Game to cancel

09/14 - Hawaii—BYU only gets the free 13th game when they travel to Hawaii. Probably need to cancel, but if BYU would rather not play an FCS team, they could cancel Utah Tech and keep this game.

09/28 - at Wyoming—Tough game to buyout, since BYU needs the home game in 2022.

10/12 - Georgia Southern—They travel to Provo in 2021 and likely won’t complain about not needing to return the game. Maybe they would like a trip to Laramie or East Carolina instead? 10/19 - at East Carolina—Similar to Wyoming. They play in Provo in 2022. Tough to cancel the return game. But BYU should be within their contractual rights to cancel it with rough notice.

11/02 - at UNLV—Cancel with home game in 2023

11/09 - at NC State—Cancel with home game in 2030


This is one of the hardest years to deal with. Stanford, Minnesota and Utah are all scheduled to visit Provo. You can’t keep them all and probably can’t get them to move the games to other years.

Game to keep

09/13 - Stanford—Likely need to keep because BYU needs the away game in 2022. There are four other future Standford games I would consider cancelling.

TBA - Utah

10/03 - at Utah State

09/06 - at Hawaii—The NCAA let’s teams play a 13th game when visiting Hawaii. Good reason to keep this game, even as a one-off.

Games to cancel

09/20 - Minnesota is scheduled to return a game 2020 that wasn’t played. Unfortunate to cancel a free Big 10 game in Provo, but seems reasonable since the first wasn’t played.

09/27 - at Rice—Cancel with home game in 2023

10/25 - at Boise State

11/01 - Virginia—Cancel with away game in 2023


Games to keep

10/02 - Utah State

TBA - at Utah

Games to cancel

09/05 - at Troy—Cancel. Provo game wasn’t played in 2020. Should fairly easy to cancel with notice.

09/12 - Arizona—Cancel. Arizona agreed to play a two neutral games and an home game before coming to Provo. Maybe BYU keeps this series instead of playing an FCS team, but more likely they will cancel along with the 2027 game.

09/19 - at Miami (FL)—Cancel with home game in 2028

09/26 - at Virginia Tech—Cancel with home game in 2030

11/07 - Boise State

11/28 - at Stanford—Cancel set of four games


Games to keep

09/18 - Utah

Games to cancel

09/11 - at Arizona—Could keep series if BYU wants to play no FCS game

09/25 - at Boise State

10/09 - Fresno State—Cancel with away game in 2023. Could hopefully keep this game and move to that away game to a future year, or bite the bullet and keep them both.


Games to keep

09/09 - at Utah

09/16 - Ole Miss—Could keep as a series paired with 2029

10/07 - Houston—Now a conference game

Games to cancel

09/02 - Miami (FL)—Cancel with away game in 2026

09/23 - Boise State

11/25 - at Stanford—Cancel set of four games


Game to keep

09/08 - at Ole Miss—A series paired with 2028

Games to cancel

09/01 - Stanford—Cancel set of four games. At this point, BYU could try to restructure games with Stanford, maybe keeping one or two of the original home games and finding a new future date to return the trip. Like Fresno State, that’s a team worth keeping on the schedule for a lot of reasons, but you can’t have Ole Miss and Stanford and Utah in 2028, so maybe this game has to move as well.

09/22 - at Boise State


Games to cancel

08/29 - NC State—Cancel with away game in 2024. Also, like the Sanford series, BYU now has room in the schedule to consider keeping this game if the 2024 game could be moved to a future year. Everything is a negotiation, so we’ll see.

09/14 - Virginia Tech—Cancel with away game in 2026

09/21 - Boise State


Games to cancel

08/30 - Stanford—Cancel set of four games

09/27 - at Boise State


Game to keep

09/11 - Michigan State—Rescheduled from a game that was to be played in Provo 2020 and retuning a game played in 2016. Do not cancel a free Big 10 home game.

TBA - Army—BYU and Army rescheduled to this date from game that was originally scheduled and then cancelled in 2020. It would be a fun game to keep, but Army will probably be happy to cancel.

Games to cancel

09/25 - Boise State


Game to cancel

09/24 - at Boise State—Maybe time to reschedule the Broncos at this point?


Game to cancel

09/23 - Boise State


Game to keep

09/08 - Missouri—Rescheduled from a game scheduled to play in 2020 and returning a game played in Kansas City in 2015. It’s a free SEC home game. You keep this one!

Game to cancel

09/01 - Stanford—Cancel set of four games