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BYU Hopes to Improve Upon its Inaugural Big 12 Season

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jake Retzlaff celebrates a touchdown with tight end Isaac Rex n the second quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
© Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

In their first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference, BYU finished 5-7 overall and 2-7 in Big 12 play. The Cougars missed a bowl berth for the first time since 2017. This marked the second time in the coach Kalani Sitake era that BYU would miss out on a bowl game.

BYU finished last season 14th in the Big 12 and the media pundits have the Cougars not finishing much better this year. They picked them to finish 13th in the now 16-team Big 12. BYU fans hope to improve upon their inaugural Big 12 season

BYU in its First Year in the Big 12

Last year, BYU's season ended with a 5-game losing streak after starting the year off 6-2. During that 5-game losing streak, BYU was outscored 188-84. Of those 5 losses, the Cougars were blown out by the now-Southeastern Conference member Texas Longhorns, West Virginia Mountaineers, and the Iowa State Cyclones.

However, BYU could be given a pass last year. BYU was one of 4 teams to join the Big 12 coming from a Group of 5 conference. The others were the Cincinnati Bearcats, UCF Golden Knights, and the Houston Cougars. By joining a Power Five conference, it’s a lofty goal to have a strong first season out of the starting gate. So, what strides have the Cougars made heading into this season? 

BYU retained 12 starters from last season and will be led by a different quarterback as Kedon Slovis moved on to the NFL. It’s assumed that junior Jake Retzlaff will be leading the Cougars this season.


 Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jake Retzlaff throws a touchdown pass against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
© Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Competing with Retzlaff will be Gerry Bohanon, who is entering his seventh year of college football play. Bohannon started in the Big 12 with the Baylor Bears back in 2018. He then transferred to USF in 2022, and now finds himself back in the conference where everything started. Sitake talked about his quarterback situation at the Big 12 Conference's Media Days in Las Vegas.

“We’ve been through QB battles before… we knew we needed to get better. I can’t tell you that there’s a deadline, but when we know we’ll know.”
BYU Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium.
© Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule Outlook

BYU could be 3-2 entering the toughest part of its schedule. That's going to be a 5-game stretch when the Cougars face Arizona and Oklahoma State at home. Both teams should be at the top of the Big 12. Then they hit the road for 2 weeks to play UCF and Utah. BYU wraps up its tough 5-game stretch against Kansas at home. A plus-.500 season shouldn't be a tough ask for this BYU team.


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