It has been released! The first Big 12 Conference schedule in BYU history is now public. BYU opens up conference play on September 23 on the road against Kansas. BYU is now a Power 5 football program and they certainly have the 2023 schedule to prove it.
The moment we've all been waiting for ... pic.twitter.com/zXf63skFhv— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) January 31, 2023
Now that it is finally here, which ones stand out? BYU will play nine conference games. What are the top five?
October 14 at TCU
How often does BYU get to play the national title runners-up? Yes it was a total blowout, but TCU earned a spot in the national title game against Georgia by defeating Michigan. Of course, the team will look very different in 2023 with several of their stars that helped them reach the title game bolting for the NFL. However, they likely will still be highly ranked when BYU makes their first trip to Fort Worth since 2010.
The Horned Frogs and Cougars renew a rivalry in a third different conference, previously in the WAC and Mountain West.
October 21 vs. Texas Tech
Yes, technically BYU’s first ever Big 12 home game will be against Cincinnati. However, they will host their first team from the Big 12 holdovers in the Red Raiders a few weeks later. Texas Tech has been in the Big 12 since the conference’s inception for the 1996 season.
BYU has only played Texas Tech once, way back in 1940. This will be the Red Raiders’ first trip to Provo. They are coming off of an 8-win season. These two programs also share a tie with the late, great coach Mike Leach.
October 28 at Texas
Can Taysom Hill suit up? I am sure some Longhorns fans still have nightmares of No. 4 in BYU blue running over, under, and through them for two straight years. BYU is 4-1 all-time against the Longhorns. The Cougars will travel to Austin for the first time since that fateful matchup in 2014 where Hill ran for three touchdowns.
On the opposite side, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is a former BYU quarterback. He led the Cougars to a 14-1 record in 1996, including a win in the Cotton Bowl over current Big 12 mate Kansas State. Texas went 8-4 in the regular season, including a one-point loss to Alabama.
There are few atmospheres better in college football than at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.
November 18 vs. Oklahoma
There was a chance BYU was never going to host Oklahoma before they left for the SEC. The Big 12 granted the Cougars that chance right off the bat, as the home finale of the season.
Just picture it. BYU, having their Senior Night, against the Oklahoma Sooners. It truly is a new world.
While the Sooners had a down year in 2022, finishing 6-7, they are still one of the premier brands in all of college football. It’s likely they will bounce back and be formidable again next season. Gone is the era of having cupcake Novembers filled with teams like Idaho State and Utah Tech. Now, the Cougars get the Sooners in Provo a week before Thanksgiving.
November 25 at Oklahoma State
In late November, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State usually meet for the Bedlam Series. In a surprising twist, the Big 12 now has Bedlam occurring in early November and the Cougars travelling to Stillwater on Thanksgiving weekend for a marquee clash to end the regular season. For the better part of the last decade, Oklahoma State has usually been near the top of the conference. They were outright Big 12 champions in 2011.
In 2021, they lost to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game thanks to a goal line stand by the Bears. This likely kept the Cowboys out of the College Football Playoff. However, they still went to the Fiesta Bowl and beat Notre Dame, finishing 12-2.
Even in a down year last season, they were ranked as high as No. 8 and beat two ranked teams in Baylor and Texas.
These two teams have met twice, in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl and 1976 Tangerine Bowl, with the Pokes winning both contests.
BYU will end their 2023 season with an absolute bang. Who knows? It may turn out that the Cougars need this win in Stillwater to become bowl eligible.