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After more than a decade of staging football media days on its own, BYU’s football program was well represented in Arlington, Texas, where the Big 12 hosted its annual football media days before more than 700 credentialed writers and broadcasters. Here is a sampling of big picture stories we did on the event and other Big 12 stories.

BYU gains respect during media days (Jay Drew)

Hoops engaged in big summer workouts (Jeff Call)

Kody Epps explains his dalliance with portal (Jay Drew)

Players encounter daylong talkfest (Jay Drew)

How Sitake turned on the charm (Jay Drew)

Sitake talks more than football (Dave McCann)

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: What are the fruits of BYU’s first foray into the Big 12 with football media days?

Jay Drew: After attending both days of Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium in steamy, sizzling Arlington, Texas, last week, one of my prevailing thoughts as I headed back to Utah for slightly more reasonable weather conditions was that BYU belongs in the Big 12.

After years and years of wandering in the wilderness of college football, the Cougars have found a home — at least for football. These guys fit right in. Even Cosmo and the cheerleaders were accepted as if they’d been a part of this league for decades, instead of days.

Does belonging mean being competitive? Maybe that’s another takeaway, but I really think BYU will gradually become one of the top programs in the league. It may take a while — maybe a year or two after heavyweights Texas and Oklahoma hit the SEC. But the Cougars will get there. They’re ready for the big stage. Kalani Sitake and company have had nearly two years lead-up, and in the Metroplex last week, they looked like they have put that time to good use.

Dick Harmon: There’s a scene that sticks out in my mind as curtains closed at Big 12 football media days in Arlington. It’s where the arena is almost empty. All the players, coaches and athletic directors are gone, and media guys are packing up and leaving. There, you see Kalani Sitake, sitting for a last radio interview, the last of his peers to leave the arena.

This signifies both his enthusiasm and passion for the moment as the face of the program. By all accounts, Ben Bywater, Kedon Slovis, Kody Epps, Tyler Batty and Ryan Rehkow, along with athletic director Tom Holmoe, were very active, well-received and spoke energetically about Big 12 aspirations. Aside from actually knocking butts around on the field, this is what these July meetings are all about; it’s a preseason dance and BYU choreographed things brilliantly. From sports information work in setting up interviews, to the viral video of Cosmo and an Oklahoma State cheerleader dancing on the field, you’d have to give it an A. Now the hitting of pads begins and talk is done.

Cougar tales

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Former USU linebacker Sione Moa signs to play at BYU out of the transfer portal. Many believe the famous “Hard Knocks” cable show will center a lot on Jets QB and former Cougar Zach Wilson.

From the archives

Tom Holmoe on his future, his legacy, and his prediction for first season in the Big 12
What does former Olympian Henry Marsh think about Kenneth Rooks? ‘He has the ‘it’ factor’

From the Twitterverse

Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers:

Absolutely incredible praise and respect for BYU at those media days! It’s fun to see OU’s coach be so excited to play there. They could be playing for the championship that BYU game, so it’s fun to think BYU could be the spoiler.

It was fun to think BYU beat OU in that building in the first college football game ever to be played there. BYU has a very rich history in college football, and that stadium with OU was just one more of the many!

BYU sports is at exciting times for sure!

— RR

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BYU mascot Cosmo the Cougar spins around with Oklahoma State cheerleader Macy Lane during Big 12 football media days in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, July 13, 2023. | Emil T. Lippe, Associated Press
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