ESPN announced Thursday afternoon that BYU will play in the inaugural Vegas Showdown November 23-24 with Arizona State, NC State, and Vanderbilt. BYU will play two of the three teams on Thanksgiving and Black Friday at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena on an ESPN Network. Matchups will be finalized at a later date. The Vegas Showdown replaces the Wooden Legacy, which was previously held in Anaheim.
BYU will play 18 Big 12 games and 13 non-conference games. Below is what we know about the non-league schedule so far. Reported dates are linked.
11/10 — San Diego State (Home)
11/18 — Morgan State (Home)
11/23 & 11/24 — Vegas Showdown, two games among ASU, NC State, and Vanderbilt
12/9 — at Utah (Road)
12/16 — Georgia State (Home)
Early December — Evansville (Home)
That leaves six games left to round out the non-conference slate. I would expect a game at the Delta Center in SLC or at another team’s neutral site venue that could be part of a neutral site series. The season opener will likely be Monday, November 6. Since the Big 12 is full of Quad One/Two games, I expect lower quality teams to fill out the slate with the potential exception of the neutral site game.
The UVU series ended last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that isn’t renewed this year. Utah State won’t be on the schedule and Weber State is a question mark.
SDSU, at Utah, and the two games in Vegas all have good chances to be Quad One or Two games, which would be a good non-conference schedule before the bemouth Big 12 slate begins. Realistically, BYU will want to go 11-2 in non-conference play to put themselves in a position to compete for a NCAA Tournament bid heading into Big 12 play.