Few weeks in the history of the BYU football program have been better than the last one, with talk of the Cougars finally making their way into a Power Five conference — the Big 12 — dominating headlines around the country.

The Cougars capped the week off Saturday night by playing Arizona at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and showed a national television audience (ESPN) how their fans can almost pack a stadium a six-hour drive away from Provo. BYU fans outnumbered Arizona fans by at least a 4-1 margin.

BYU athletic director appeared on BYUtv’s pregame show to discuss the various happenings this week, but offered few details — as expected — about any of it.

“If I have said it once, I have said it 300 times over the last 17 years. We are going to put ourselves in a position where our student athletes can play against the very best athletes and teams in the country. … When we went independent (in football, in 2011), we expanded that quest. And we have just continued to grow. We just keep trying to keep that quest alive. We will see what happens.” — BYU AD Tom Holmoe

“I love that everybody is talking about BYU this week,” Holmoe told hosts Blaine Fowler, David Nixon and Dave McCann.

So what about the Big 12? Are reports accurate that the Cougars could be accepting an invitation to the league as soon as next week?

Holmoe remains mostly tight-lipped.

“If I have said it once, I have said it 300 times over the last 17 years,” said the AD who took over in 2005. “We are going to put ourselves in a position where our student athletes can play against the very best athletes and teams in the country. … When we went independent (in football, in 2011), we expanded that quest. And we have just continued to grow. We just keep trying to keep that quest alive. We will see what happens.”

Pressed for more information, Holmoe said: “This is all I will say on this tonight.”

Holmoe, 61, did acknowledge that relationships BYU made with Big 12 schools and commissioner Bob Bowlsby when the league looked into expanding in 2016 before deciding against it have helped in this go-round, which began because Big 12 schools Texas and Oklahoma announced last month they were leaving for the SEC.

The other schools reported to be joining BYU in the Big 12 are Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida.

“There were times when some people wondered how this was going to work, and what we were going to do. And the only thing that we could do that would help us was to get better,” Holmoe said. “And I think right now you can feel the energy. … We have gotten better. We are a better football program. We are a better athletic department than we were a number of years ago.

“That’s our goal,” Holmoe continued. “Every year we were here we wanted to get better, and I am happy for the guys that made it happen. This is another opportunity for us to continue to climb.”

In other news Saturday that made BYU fans happy, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that BYU and Notre Dame will player their long-awaited third game in their series — announced in 2010 when the Cougars went independent — in Las Vegas in October 2022.

Holmoe would not confirm the report.

“Everybody knows BYU and Notre Dame have a game coming up sometime in the millennium. It is going to happen when it happens,” Holmoe said. “There is nothing done (but) somehow things came out a little bit. But nothing is done and when the time comes it will be a great game. We waited patiently so we can wait a little longer.”

Last Tuesday, BYU extended head football coach Kalani Sitake’s contract through the 2025 season, essentially adding two years.

Related
BYU beats Arizona 24-16 in season opener
‘They know a lot more about us than we know about them’: Can Arizona use the element of surprise to upset BYU in Las Vegas?

McCann asked Holmoe why they did it now.

“Because he is our coach,” Holmoe said. “We want to make sure that he is around these young men and that he continues to develop them. You see what he has created — this connection. And that’s the thing about this football program. It is not only the football players that believe in him, but Cougar Nation believes in him. … So that’s why we did it.”

Holmoe said Las Vegas is like a home away from home for the Cougars, and he expects more games like Saturday’s in the future for BYU.

“I really love this place,” he said. “It seems like every year that we come into a new NFL venue they each one-up the other, and there is something in the venue that it is amazing. It is one of our desires, that we play in these games. It is a tribute to our fans and teams that these people call us and say we have an NFL venue and we want you to be there.”

Among the former players in attendance Saturday night was last year’s quarterback, Zach Wilson, the second pick in the 2021 NFL draft by the New York Jets.

“He’s a good dude,” Holmoe said.