As has been the case since BYU started holding its own football media day as an independent, the “State of the Program” television show that kicks off the event centered around the future.
This time, that came with the twist of talking about more than just the upcoming season, as BYU is also preparing to join a Power Five conference next year.
Here are five takeaways from what BYU athletic director and head football coach Kalani Sitake discussed during the program.
Is BYU ready to join the Big 12 next year?
BYU will join the Big 12 officially on July 1, 2023. How ready are the Cougars to join a Power Five league?
“I don’t know if we’re ready, but I know we’ve planned long and hard,” Holmoe said. “We’re on the right path, time will tell. … There’s still work to be done, but we’ve got a lot of it behind us now.”
“We thought of ourselves and carried ourselves as big-time,” Sitake said.
Holmoe also confirmed that when BYU joins the Big 12 Conference, they will play nine conference games.
Who will be BYU’s third nonconference opponent in 2023?
Last month, Tennessee announced it had canceled its nonconference game against BYU in the 2023 season.
That leaves BYU with nonleague games scheduled against Southern Utah and Arkansas in its first season in the Big 12.
Without revealing who the third nonconference opponent is, Holmoe said a deal is close.
“We’re very close to a contract, we basically have an agreement,” he said. “It will fit into the schedule well.”
Sitake showed support in his athletic director, no matter who that third nonleague opponent is.
“I just trust Tom to do his job. Whoever shows up, we’re going to be ready,” he said.
How have name, image and likeness and the transfer portal impacted college athletics?
Holmoe said he approves of name, image and likeness and its ability to help student-athletes make some money, but that it’s gotten out of hand and could use help — perhaps the government — as far as regulation.
“There are a lot of people working on ideas right now. I think everybody has to come together; too many people are split on issues, in athletics, with PR, with other interests,” he said.
Similarly, the transfer portal and its regulation is a hot topic in college athletics, and particularly in college football.
Sitake expressed confidence in his program being able to develop the players they already have on the roster, while also utilizing the transfer portal to find good fits to add to the program.
“For us, it’s about the fit and the young man,” Sitake said. “The transfers we’ve been able to bring in the past couple years have been really helpful to our program.”
What BYU’s 2022 schedule looks like, and more on the Notre Dame game
Last year, BYU went 6-1 against Power Five opponents, and this year, the Cougars will face five more, including fellow independent Notre Dame.
“It looks tough on paper,” Holmoe said of the 2022 schedule. “It’s about a week before the game comes up you see what you’re going to get.”
Holmoe said that the Cougars’ game against Notre Dame in Las Vegas on Oct. 8 will be a home game for the Fighting Irish as a part of their Shamrock Series.
“The other choice would be that we wouldn’t play,” he said.
Sitake sounded confident the Cougars will be prepared for opponents they’ll face in the upcoming season.
“That’s why I came here, it’s not going to get any easier going to the Big 12,” he said.
What are BYU’s bowl options in 2022?
Holmoe said he and BYU deputy athletic director Brian Santiago met with ESPN on Tuesday, and he is confident that ESPN will get the Cougars into a strong bowl this season.
The Cougars are contracted to play in an ESPN-owned bowl in their final year as an independent.
“Throughout the season, we’ll have conversations with them,” Holmoe said. “We’ve got to be ready to take any bowl they give us, and hopefully it will be a great one.”