The second weekend of September 2021 will be tough to top at BYU. The Cougars were officially invited to join the Big 12 on Friday, Sept. 10. The following day, in front of a sold-out LaVell Edwards Stadium, BYU snapped a nine-game losing streak against rival Utah, 26-17.

When the warm sun came up the following Monday morning, almost every sport on campus was hit with the cold reality of what was coming — stiffer competition in a Power Five conference and just 24 months to get ready.

Years earlier, the Cougars watched Utah and TCU make the jump from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 and Big 12, respectively, but without a personal track record of weekly combat, how BYU would fare was anyone’s guess.

After eight months of Big 12 play, the verdict is in — while some sports did better than others, the Cougars as a whole face a universal need to get bigger, stronger and faster in every sport.


BYU finished the 2022 season in second place in the WCC with a 6-0-3 record and were 12-3-6 overall. In 2023, the Cougars finished second in the Big 12 at 7-0-3 and 20-3-3 overall with a trip to the NCAA College Cup. Unfazed by the upgraded conference, Jen Rockwood’s Cougars remained the competitive crown jewel on campus.

Women’s volleyball

BYU finished second during their final year in the WCC at 15-3 and 22-7 overall with a trip to the NCAA Tournament. As a member of the Big 12, the Cougars finished in third place at 13-5 and 27-5 overall with another date in the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s basketball

BYU finished fifth in the WCC with a 7-9 conference record and a 19-15 overall mark in 2022-2023. Despite being picked 13th in the Big 12 preseason poll, the Cougars went 10-8 to take fifth place in what is considered to be the toughest conference in college basketball. BYU (23-11) also reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021.

Women’s basketball

BYU went 9-9 and finished tied for fourth place in the WCC in 2023. As a new member of the Big 12, the Cougars went 6-12. With postseason appearances in the WNIT and WBIT, Amber Whiting’s teams both tapped out with 16-17 overall records.


BYU is 8-15 and 26-21 overall in their first season in the Big 12. The Cougars are in sixth place with the conference tournament beginning May 8. The top teams in the Big 12 include No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Oklahoma State. Last year in the WCC, with no conference team ranked in the top 25, BYU took second place at 11-4 and 30-15 overall.

Men’s tennis

Men’s tennis finished the WCC tied for fifth place at 4-5 and 6-16 overall. During their first year in the Big 12, the Cougars went 0-7 and 11-11 overall.

Women’s tennis

BYU finished their run in the WCC in fourth place at 6-3 and 13-9 overall. As a member of the Big 12, the Cougars took fifth at 8-5 and 17-7 overall.


The Cougar men won the WCC championship last season and finished in 10th at this week’s Big 12 championships. The BYU women placed second at last year’s WCC championships and finished 13th at last week’s Big 12 tournament.


BYU swept the WCC cross-country championships in 2022. The Cougar women won the Big 12 title last fall and the men finished runner-up to Oklahoma State. The Big 12 Track and Field Outdoor Championships begin May 9.


BYU finished in seventh place in the WCC at 13-14 and 24-28 overall and missed the conference tournament by one game last season. The Cougars are 16-22, including 6-16 in the Big 12 and in 12th place this year. The top 10 teams qualify for the conference tournament in Arlington, Texas, which begins May 21.


The Cougars went 8-5 in its last season as a football independent in 2022, including P5 games against No. 9 Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, Arkansas and Stanford and a bowl victory against SMU. During BYU’s debut season in the Big 12 and facing 10-straight P5 opponents, the Cougars finished 5-7 and did not qualify for the postseason.

Life in the Big 12 has been as tough as advertised and the initial season has given each sport on campus a first-person blueprint of how to get better. Next year, Texas and Oklahoma, teams that went a combined 25-8 against BYU, will be off to the SEC.

Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and rival Utah will join the Big 12, adding another round of newness for the Cougars second year, which starts Sept. 12 against the Sun Devils in women’s soccer.

Whether BYU shows up bigger, stronger and faster in the various sports will reflect how much they learned from their debut season and what they were willing to do about it.

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