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BYU Moves Up Matchup with Arkansas in 2023

It appears their 2023 game at Arkansas is still in BYU’s plans when they make the jump to the Big 12.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout BYU’s time as an independent, they piled up a truckload of opponents in an assortment of locales. This has led to some prime time matchups with big-name schools and a long list of teams slated to play BYU in the coming years.

As the Cougars near their entrance into the Big 12 following next football season, they will need to reschedule or cancel most of their games to arrange for their Big 12 conference slate. In their first three years of Big 12 conference play, they still have games scheduled against the likes of Tennessee, Arkansas, USC, Utah, NC State, Stanford and Minnesota among others. Athletic Director Tom Holmoe has some decisions to make on which games to keep as non-conference games in the Big 12 era.

Apparently, a decision has already been made regarding an opponent for 2023. Previously, BYU and Arkansas agreed to meet in Fayetteville on September 23, 2023. According to reports, the two sides have agreed to move the game up by a week, now kicking off on September 16.

This suggests that their road game against Arkansas is intended to be part of the first non-conference slate in BYU’s inaugural season in the Big 12. This raised some eyebrows as BYU also still has a game against another SEC foe on their slate, Tennessee, who is coming to Provo on September 2. Does BYU keep two SEC games on their non-conference schedule, ahead of a grueling run through the Big 12 for the first time? The Cougars also have the USC Trojans later in the year as another Power 5 team with which they may need to reschedule or cancel.

The Cougars and Razorbacks of the SEC have never met up on the football field. They will do so two years in a row, as Arkansas first visits Provo next season, BYU’s final campaign as an independent, before the Cougars make the return trip as a newly minted Big 12 school.

Last season, the Razorbacks, led by second-year head coach Sam Pittman, got ranked as high as No. 8 in the polls before finishing 9-4 and No. 21, just two slots behind BYU’s final spot. They also enjoyed their first season at .500 or better in SEC play in six years.