BYU’s first Big 12 football schedule was released on Tuesday, giving fans a glimpse at what to expect in the Cougars’ inaugural season as a member of a Power Five conference.

BYU will play on the road for five of its nine conference games in 2023. Its set of four home games is highlighted by the home finale against blueblood program Oklahoma on Nov. 18.

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BYU Football 2023 schedule released for first year of games in the Big 12 Conference

The schedule sets up the possibility for some good road trips for the Cougars and their fans, especially against teams that the program has some history with.

Two Deseret News reporters, Brandon Judd and Kelsey Dallas, made their choice for what is BYU’s top Big 12 road game in the 2023 season.

Why Texas is BYU’s best Big 12 road game in 2023

When: Oct. 28

Where: Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)

Brandon Judd’s explanation: There is some fun history between these two teams, at least for Cougars fans. 

BYU is 4-1 against blueblood Texas, including back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014 when Taysom Hill ran up, down and around the Longhorns defense in both victories. His leaping touchdown over a Texas defender in the 2014 win in Austin lives in Cougar lore.

With Texas leaving for the SEC, this could be a rare matchup for the teams going forward — and that makes it even more appealing to be in attendance.

The Longhorns’ coach, Steve Sarkisian, was a star quarterback for the Cougars in the mid-1990s. He’s headed into his third season as Texas’ coach and the Longhorns finished last year with an 8-5 record and ranked No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll. There should be high expectations in Austin again.

If you’re looking for a food-related reason to be there, BBQ is abundant in Texas — and Texas is king on the BBQ scene.

Why Kansas is BYU’s best Big 12 road game in 2023

When: Sept. 23

Where: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, Kansas)

Kelsey Dallas’ explanation: Don’t tell Brandon, but I chose this game solely because of the opportunities Utah-based BYU fans would have to add fun side trips to their journey to and from Lawrence, Kansas.

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As a born-and-raised Midwesterner, it pleases me immensely that road trippers would have the chance to see huge chunks of both Kansas and Nebraska if they took I-70 on the way to the game and I-80 on the way back. There’s a less than two-hour difference in total driving time between the two possible routes (if you use I-76 to join I-80 in Nebraska), according to Google Maps.

Both routes would take drivers through beautiful Colorado, where they might have a chance to see leaves beginning to change colors in the Rocky Mountains as summer turns to fall. And Lawrence, Kansas, itself is only 40-ish minutes from Kansas City, home of the best BBQ — and, believe it or not, the best milkshake — I’ve ever consumed.

If you take the long way home through Nebraska, you’ll have a chance to mix up the scenery flying by your car windows and detour to Omaha to see its world-famous zoo. I can even recommend a rental house in between Omaha and Lincoln with enough room for big families and private access to one of Nebraska’s many streams.

So what are you waiting for? Buy tickets to BYU-Kansas and become a BYU superfan and master family vacation planner in one fell swoop.

BYU’s other Big 12 road games in 2023

  • Oct. 14 at TCU: The Horned Frogs may be BYU’s biggest rival in the Cougars’ new conference. TCU and BYU were once league foes in the Mountain West Conference and even the Western Athletic Conference before that. During their MWC days, the programs played several high-profile games. TCU has won four straight against BYU, most in convincing fashion.
  • Nov. 4 at West Virginia: BYU and West Virginia have played once before, with the Mountaineers edging the Cougars 35-32 in 2016 during BYU’s independence days. That game, though, was played at FedEx Field in Maryland, home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
  • Nov. 25 at Oklahoma State: BYU will end its first Big 12 season on the road in Stillwater, Oklahoma, against the Mike Gundy-led Cowboys. Gundy was complimentary of BYU when the Cougars received the invitation to join the Big 12 in September 2021, saying, “People see BYU as a Power Five team.”
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