It’s taken most of the year, a furious offseason of recruiting, new defensive coaches, a different strength and conditioning staff, and BYU continues to prepare for the first season in the Big 12. Fortunately, coach Kalani Sitake, Aaron Roderick and Jay Hill have been through this before when Utah entered the Pac-12 from the Mountain West.

Has BYU’s independent schedule given the Cougars a head start from MWC days more than a decade ago? Maybe. We shall see.  Here is a list of five players to look for this upcoming football season, drawn up by Jay Drew. 

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: Will the Big 12 will add teams this summer?

Jay Drew: I think it is almost certain that the Big 12 will add schools this summer. The question is whether that number is four new schools to get it to 16 or two to get it to 14. Simply, the Big 12 cannot afford to stand pat as the SEC and Big Ten continue their expansion efforts.

My best guess is that the Big 12 will eventually add Colorado and Arizona. I just don’t think whatever media rights package the Pac-12 eventually agrees to will keep the admins at CU and U of A happy. If that doesn’t happen, or even if it does, I can still see Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark pursuing schools — and maybe not football schools, either. Various published reports have Gonzaga, UConn and maybe even San Diego State in the picture. The common denominator: outstanding basketball programs. Of course, Gonzaga doesn’t have football, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Yormark.

Some concessions might have to be made.

Dick Harmon: Predicting is a risky game but I don’t see how the Pac-12 stays together for the long term with Big Ten interest seemingly always on the table since it raided the league for the Los Angeles market USC and UCLA. I don’t see how Washington and Oregon sign grant of rights long term and even short term they’d ask for unequal distribution. I think all Pac-12 teams want to stay together but they’re starved for a Happy Meal deal and it hasn’t been delivered. There is enough prickly feelings going on with other members that I can see Colorado and Arizona leaving.

The Big 12 is smart to take advantage of its powerful basketball brand, a cash cow through NCAA Tournament payouts. Brett Yormark is smart to chase Gonzaga, UConn as possible basketball-only members and Arizona would be a significant catch. I don’t think the Pac-12 media deal will be north of $27 million per team and it could dip to just more than $20 million. That would significantly impact competition with the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 for resources. Then there is Comcast refunds that hover around $6 million per team when many are battling budget issues after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Yes, I believe additions are coming, and soon.

Cougar tales

BYU’s men’s golf team played horribly in its early “Sunday round” at the NCAA championship in Arizona, which dug an insurmountable hole. Meanwhile, both BYU’s men’s and women’s track and field teams produced record performances this past week in advancing athletes to the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, next week. 

The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story that claimed NIL deals for some BYU athletes came way short of promises. One of the points in the piece pointed to Built Bar, who’d given more than $1 million to BYU athletes, but had failed to make promised payments to athletes for sales of a new product called Cougar Tail bars.   

From the archives

BYU position analysis: Cougars should have plenty of capable tight ends in 2023

With Big 12 momentum growing, BYU fortunate to ride wave into 2023 football season

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

Three reasons to be excited for football 2023 (KSL Sports)

BYU adds Juco tight end (KSL Sports)

BYU QB prospects still on radar (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

View Comments

Comments from Deseret News readers:

Three former Cougars QBs, top LBs, running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen, etc, in the NFL and a Super Bowl champion coach. 

No worries folks. No amount of disrespect from Ute whiners can take away Cougar glory.

— Wor

It seems like these preseason prediction polls are always just guesswork (except when it comes to Alabama and Georgia being top contenders, of course). Let everyone play the first four games, and then the rankings become a lot more meaningful. ... I hope the SOS for BYU stays tough and that they have a respectable season.

— Ghost Writer

Up next

June 7-8 | TBA | Track and field | NCAA championships | @Austin, Texas

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