As BYU Football enters the Big 12, they are going to have to take a hard look of how they want to schedule their games.
Alabama hasn’t left the SEC footprint outside of bowl games since 2011 when they travelled to Penn State. In fact, most if not all SEC teams play seven home games every single season and some only play four road games with another neutral site game that is, you guessed it, inside the SEC footprint. So yes, that is why every time you turn on a Florida game it appears they are playing in The Swamp.
Aside from scheduling games almost exclusively at home, P5 teams are also very specific with who they play. For most teams with an eight game conference schedule this means playing an FCS school, two G5’s and a P5 team. For a team with nine conference games the general model is FCS, G5, P5.
But those are just generalizations and not the rule. There can be examples of teams breaking away from this. Oklahoma this season will play two G5’s and one P5. UCLA is playing two FCS and a G5. And Arizona State is playing two FCS and a P5.
What is the right path for BYU Football?
The reason, generally, that some of these schools break away from the typical scheduling model is because of name brand. Alabama can get away with playing two FCS, a G5 and a lower P5 in their non-conference and still be ranked No.1 in the nation. A team like California however may need some quality non conference wins to get on the board.
For BYU entering the Big 12 they will certainly fall more on the “prove it” scale. Because of that, the Cougars likely shouldn’t schedule very many, if any FCS games early in the Big 12 unless there are multiple P5’s. That is if they want to play for the Playoff. The best model would probably to be two G5’s and a P5 game, hopefully against Utah. The second best option would be two P5’s with an FCS game between them.
It is also possible that the Cougars take the route to just get to a bowl game. In this scenario, the ideal schedule would be FCS, G5 and either another FCS or G5. Those games won’t help BYU’s ranking per say, but it would be three wins making it so that BYU would only have to go 3-6 in Big 12 play to play in the postseason in a bowl that is better that what BYU currently gets with a 10-2 Independent record.
What do you think? Should the Cougars schedule heavy going forward, or should they lay back and make sure that bowl games are still being played?