Once the initial shock of having the renewal of the BYU-Utah rivalry the second weekend of November, rather than the last, wears off, there’s a lot to like about the Cougars’ 2024 Big 12 football schedule for BYU fans.

In short, it should be more manageable than their first Big 12 schedule, thanks to bye weekends that come after the fifth and eighth games in what BYU is calling its 100th season of college football.

Of course, BYU’s first season in the Big 12 was mostly forgettable for the Cougs, as they went 2-7 and finished the year on a five-game losing skid. It was the “11th-toughest in the Sagarin schedule rankings,” according to a BYU news release.

2024 BYU schedule


  • Aug. 31 — vs. Southern Illinois.
  • Sept. 6 — at SMU.
  • Sept. 14 — at Wyoming.
  • Sept. 21 — vs. Kansas State.
  • Sept. 28 — at Baylor.
  • Oct. 5 — BYE.
  • Oct. 12 — vs. Arizona.
  • Oct. 18 or 19 — vs. Oklahoma State.
  • Oct. 26 — at UCF.
  • Nov. 2 — BYE.
  • Nov. 9 — at Utah.
  • Nov. 16 — vs. Kansas.
  • Nov. 23 — at Arizona State.
  • Nov. 30 — vs. Houston.

A repeat of that campaign — with a slightly more difficult nonconference schedule of Southern Illinois at home and road games at Wyoming and SMU — would seemingly be unacceptable to BYU fans and might just put coach Kalani Sitake on the hot seat.

The primary goal for BYU in 2024 should be returning to a bowl game, after missing out last year for the first time since 2017, Sitake’s second season. Beating rival Utah, which will probably be picked to win the league in its first year in the Big 12 because quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe, among others, are back for the Utes, is another top priority.

At least, the Cougars won’t face a gauntlet of seven-straight difficult conference games after their bye week, as was the case last year. 

BYU’s byes this fall come on Oct. 5 (General Conference weekend), before it hosts Arizona and standout quarterback Noah Fifita on Oct. 12, and on Nov. 2, the week before it travels to Salt Lake City to face the rival Utes on Nov. 9 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

That’s right — for the first time since 1953 BYU and Utah will both be coming off bye weeks when they meet in a regular-season game. BYU and Utah not meeting in the first, or last, game of the season? It’s not optimal and it is not what almost everybody expected, but it’s not awful, either.

Heck, the weather in early-ish November in Utah might be a tad better than it will be on Nov. 30 when BYU will host Houston on Senior Day. For what it’s worth, Utah also has byes on Oct. 5 and Nov. 2, and the Utes will be soaking up the sun, presumably, in Orlando before facing UCF near the Magic Kingdom on Nov. 29. 

BYU fans should get some time in the sunshine before the Cougars play at UCF on Oct. 26 and at Arizona State on Nov. 23. If the Sun Devils are faltering, and even if they aren’t, that late-November game in Tempe could become a BYU stadium takeover. Time will tell.

That BYU would have road games at Arizona State, Baylor, UCF and Utah and home games against Arizona, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State has been known since the conference announced opponent lists for all 16 teams through the 2027 season back on Nov. 1.

We’ve also known that BYU won’t get a shot at Colorado and Coach Prime until 2025. Can’t wait for that.

Tuesday’s surprise, of course, was that BYU and Utah won’t square off a few days after Thanksgiving, as was widely expected. Then again, there should be no shortage of storylines when the Utes and Cougars meet for the first time since Sept. 11, 2021, a 26-17 BYU win in Provo.

Related
BYU football 2024 schedule released for Year 2 in the Big 12
Utah football’s first Big 12 schedule is released. Here’s what it looks like
Why this Fox Sports analyst has Utah as the favorite to win the Big 12

Both fanbases will have two weeks to throw out rivalry smack.

Yuck.

The rest of the Cougars’ 2024 schedule is fairly tasty, however, save that trip to Laramie in Week 3. Wyoming will be breaking in a new coach, but one can bet Cowboy fans will be champing at the bit to “welcome” BYU back to the High Plains for the first time since 2009, a 52-0 BYU victory.

The Cougars themselves will only have a couple of chances for revenge, as they host Oklahoma State on Oct. 18 or 19 (whether they play on a Friday or a Saturday apparently is still to be determined) and Kansas on Nov. 16.

Those are the only two repeat opponents from the 2023 season; BYU fell 38-27 at Kansas and 40-34 in 2OT at OSU last fall. Texas and Oklahoma are leaving for the SEC and the other five opponents from 2023 won’t face the Cougars this fall.