Who Is BYU Football Going to Play This Fall?
It’s August 2nd and BYU’s 2020 football season is in serious trouble.
With four of the fiver power five leagues announcing they will play conference-only schedules to minimize the spread of COVID-19, BYU has lost 6 games from its schedule: Arizona State, Stanford and Utah from the Pac-12; Minnesota and Michigan State from the Big 10; and Missouri from the SEC. Rumored replacement games against Alabama and Texas A&M are also out of the question.
With just six games remaining on the schedule, including three against teams from the Mountain West Conference-which is likely to follow suit and go conference only-BYU needs a big break in order to find a competitive schedule this season. So what are the program’s options?
Part rumor, but larger part Twitter speculation from overzealous BYU fans, there was talk that BYU could play in the Big 12 conference this year. However, according to Matt Mosley from the Dallas Morning News, there is “no chance” that the Big 12 will give them temporary membership for the season.
Brigham Young’s best opportunity appears to be getting the Mountain West to toss them a lifeline and let them join for the season, but they are at the mercy of commissioner Craig Thompson and the MWC schools, who still are bitter from the Cougar’s departure from the conference in 2011.
The most plausible option (assuming that the season even comes to fruition) would be a conglomeration of games against other Independents and FCS teams. Notre Dame Football has found a home with the ACC, but BYU could find games against the other independents-Liberty, UMASS, New Mexico State, UCONN, and Army.
BYU is still scheduled to play FCS North Alabama in November and could find other FCS teams hungry for a payout game this season, but with no fans in the stands or the stadium at limited capacity, the Cougars are not inclined to pay for teams to come to Provo. Additionally, 5 FCS conferences (CAA, MEAC, IVY, Patriot, SWAC) are canceling fall football while one league (The Pioneer League) is going conference only, with others expected to join them.
There are 4 independent teams in FCS, new division one Dixie State, along with Presbyterian, Robert Morris, and Tarleton State. Those are names that could find themselves on the schedule.
It is a very fluid situation with several more questions to be answered, but one thing that’s certain is this: It will not be a normal fall in Provo this year.