BYU will join the Big 12 in 2023, and conference membership brings a whole new host of opportunities to see the Cougars on the road.
Oklahoma and Texas say they will stay in the Big 12 through the 2024 football season, joining the SEC for the 2025 football season. Will BYU play at Oklahoma or Texas during the two seasons that the three schools are both in the Big 12? Due to the uncertainty, I did not include them in the list, but if the opportunity arises, a visit to Gaylord Family–Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. or Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas would definitely be on this list.
With that being said, here’s three of the best Big 12 trips to go on once the Cougars join the conference.
Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas Jayhawks basketball, Lawrence, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo.
If you go on one trip to see the Cougars in Big 12 play, this should be the one.
Consistently showing up on rankings of the top college basketball venues in the country, Kansas’s Allen Fieldhouse is a bucket-list item for many diehard college basketball fans.
I’ve been to Allen Fieldhouse before, and even though I didn’t attend a game there, I could feel the history as I visited the Booth Family Hall of Athletics and sat down in stands. The Allen Fieldhouse lobby features a really well-done 19,335-square-foot museum — The Booth Family Hall of Athletics — featuring some of the Jayhawks’ biggest legends. From Wilt Chamberlain to Danny Manning, to a large section about the founder of basketball and Kansas’s first coach, James Naismith — featuring the original copy of the rules of basketball and some of the first-ever basketballs — it’s all here, and any college basketball fan will have fun looking at the history of the sport.
Allen Fieldhouse itself is historic, opening in 1955, and still has that old-school charm to it. From the NCAA tournament banners hanging in the fieldhouse rafters, to the old-school metal bleachers that make up the vast majority of the 16,300 seats, Allen Fieldhouse is a time capsule of sorts and feels special from the time you walk in.
Allen Fieldhouse is pretty much always packed and is one of the loudest arenas in college basketball, especially for conference play. The student section — over 3,000 strong — is one of the best in the sport, and hearing the Fieldhouse sing along to “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” is special.
Kansas has the best home-court advantage in college basketball, going 277-15 at Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bill Self. With the Jayhawks almost always nationally ranked, watching BYU play Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse will be a memorable experience for any Cougar fan.
Outside of the game, Kansas City is a 45-minute drive from Lawrence. There’s plenty to do in Kansas City, starting with some of, if not the best, barbecue in the world. If you like BBQ, stop by Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que for ribs, burnt ends or a Z-Man sandwich. It earned a spot on Anthony Bourdain’s “13 Places to Eat Before You Die” list.
Other must-visit spots in Kansas City include the very-well-done National World War I Museum (make sure to go to the top of Liberty Tower for a nice view of Kansas City), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Power and Light District.
Bounce House, UCF football, Orlando, Fla.
What could be better than seeing a BYU football game and going to Walt Disney World in the same weekend? I imagine that this road trip will be a popular one for BYU families everywhere.
Kids (and adults) are pretty much guaranteed a fun time at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” in Orlando. The 25,000-acre Disney World is one of the most popular vacation destinations for Americans, attracting more than 58 million guests per year. With 46 rides, The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Park, Epcot, a massive resort, golf courses and more, you could stay at Disney World for a week and not run out of things to do.
If you get tired of Disney World, there’s also Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove. Around that area is International Drive, which features shopping and dining.
Non-theme park attractions include Kennedy Space Center, about an hour away from Orlando. Daytona Beach, about an hour away from Orlando, is a popular tourist destination, and Cocoa Beach, also about an hour away from downtown Orlando, is one of Orlando’s best.
On game day, head over to the Bounce House. Yes, really. As of 2021, the Bounce House is the official name of UCF’s football stadium, named for the way the stadium shakes when fans jump. The 44,206-seat stadium looks like it has a great atmosphere and UCF’s campus is beautiful. The Knights are good and often ranked, and battles with the Cougars could make for a memorable game.
Millions comes to Orlando to have fun every year. Seeing the Cougars live and taking in an Orlando vacation sounds like a good time.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU Football, Fort Worth, Texas and Dallas, Texas
BYU and TCU already have history from the Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs will probably be the Cougars’ natural Big 12 rival due to the seven games between the two schools played in the Mountain West from 2005-2011. Four of those games featured at least one ranked team.
The 47,000-seat Amon G. Carter Stadium, just renovated in 2019, looks beautiful. TCU will be one of the best football teams in the new Big 12 after Texas and Oklahoma leave, so the games played between BYU and Gary Patterson-led TCU will feature some high-level football. Make sure to explore the unique red-roofed campus with historical buildings as well. If you’re a fan of country music, Billy Bob’s Texas is in Forth Worth and is a 100,000-square foot “honkey-tonk” which features live country music, dancing, food, and an arena to watch live bull-riding.
Downtown Dallas is a 30-minute drive from Fort Worth. Some of the top tourist attractions include the The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza — a museum dedicated to John F. Kennedy at the site where he was assassinated — Reunion Tower, which features a great view of Dallas, The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The Dallas Museum of Art. Some of the best BBQ in Dallas is at Lockhart, Pecan Lounge, Slow Bone and Cattleack.