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Notable BYU, Utah Questions Answered From Big 12 Media Days

Jul 10, 2024, 5:03 PM

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LAS VEGAS –  A new era of Big 12 football kicked off over two days in the hot desert of Las Vegas.

The new 16-team league convened inside Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, to preview the upcoming season and discuss the latest changes in the sport.

With a historic season featuring an expanded playoff right around the corner let’s answer some questions from a loaded few days inside the “Death Star.”

What was the biggest announcement made by the conference?

There weren’t any seismic announcements made by Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark during his keynote speech, however, he did drop a few interesting nuggets.

Yormark mentioned that the conference is exploring new TV windows as they continue to explore ways to create value.

“A lot is going on on Saturdays, as we all know,” said Yormark. “A lot of competition. So the question is, are there new TV windows we can explore where we can highlight, elevate, and amplify our football programs maybe a little differently?”

The only realistic opportunities for greater exposure exist on days other than Saturday, which is a slippery slope.

It’s possible to be the top game played on a Thursday or Friday night, but the exposure of those matchups will dwindle in relevance when stacked up against the biggest games on Saturdays.

BYU has been familiar with weeknight games from its time as an independent.

It’s possible to create a brand and identity by playing good football on those days.

Just ask Boise State.

However, that was a different time in college football.

First-year head coach Willie Fritz of the Houston Cougars likes the creativity, nonetheless.

“It’s what you are gonna have to do,” he said. “I think he (Yormark) has great vision. If you don’t get with it you are going to get left behind.”

What was the most interesting thing said by a head coach?

There wasn’t anything explosive from any coaching interviews at the podium.

Colorado head coach Deion “Prime” Sanders stole the show as he fielded questions from the media, although nothing he said was groundbreaking.

The story of the day came from Arizona head coach Bret Brennan.

Arizona head coach Bret Brennan told a great story about this time around Kalani Sitake

Brennan spent several years as an assistant coach in the PAC-10 and PAC-12, including some time with BYU head coach Kalani Sitake in Corvallis with Oregon State.

“He’s a special guy in my life,” said Brennan. “I love him and it’s fun to play each other again.”

These two will meet up in Provo on October 12th, 2024.

How does Utah feel about being the preseason favorite to win the league?

Utah football has built its program to a place where conference championships are expected.

After a step back last season following a couple of Rose Bowl appearances, the Utes are poised to make a run at the playoff.

“This move to this conference, for the seniors in particular, has got them really excited,” said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Utah was selected in the Big 12 preseason poll to win the league.

“They’re looking forward to being able to control their own destiny as far as being able to get into the playoffs now.”

“It’s all in our hands.”

How does BYU feel about being ranked towards the bottom of the league?

BYU is embracing the underdog role. They like where they were picked in the conference standings despite being towards the bottom.

They’ll use this as fuel to exceed expectations.

Wide Reciever Darius Lassiter told KSL Sports he “loves it.”

“We know what we got in the locker room,” said Lassiter.

“He loves to be an underdog. He likes to be underrated. It gives us the opportunity, no target on our back, play free and play for each other.”

The Cougars were selected to finish 13th out of 16 teams.

“It doesn’t really matter to us where we start out,” he added. “It matters where we finish.”

What’s the overall sentiment around the four corner schools joining the league?

Optimism and excitement were the “buzz” words coming from the four new schools in the conference.

Their additions promoted Yormark to declare the Big 12 as being “solidified as one of the top three conferences in America.”

Football hasn’t been this stable in years. It’s ascending in brand and popularity. The conference announced that it’s the second-most followed conference on Twitter and Instagram.

“Everything continues to change in this job,” said Kansas head coach Lance Leipold.

“The thing I’m most grateful for now is that we are a stable conference.”

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter @baiamontematt here.

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Notable BYU, Utah Questions Answered From Big 12 Media Days