BYU’s era of independence opened up a whole new world of opportunity for the Cougars, one of which was planning. The Cougars have played in a variety of scenic and notable locations, including some NFL Colossi. They also competed against some of the best programs college football has to offer. Only in the last three seasons has BYU played against UCF, Navy, Houston, Tennessee, USC, Washington and Wisconsin, among others.
However, there are several FBS programs that BYU hasn’t played on the grate yet, actually over 30. The Cougars have a few on their way in the years to come, like Arkansas, Georgia Southern, NC State, Minnesota, Army, and Virginia Tech.
However, there are still numerous schools that have never met with BYU and that are not planned in the future either. Let’s go over five programs that BYU and sporting director Tom Holmoe should be planning as soon as possible.
First of all, this would be one of the top matchups every Saturday among teams not attending a Power Five conference. The climbers have come a long way since being the unknown Cinderella, who defeated Michigan in the Big House, in 2007. You jumped from the FCS to the Sun Belt in 2014 and have only won since then. App State has had four double-digit seasons of earnings in its first seven years at the FBS level. They have also appeared in the AP Top 25 for the past three seasons and have never lost a bowl game 6-0. As for the opponents of the Group of Five, it is not much better than the Appalachian state.
The Tigers are one of the biggest brands in football. They have two national titles, the last one in 2010 behind their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton. You have been playing football since 1902 and have 782 wins. You play regularly on the national stage and are seven years away from a national title game. Since 2014 they have also played in two New Year’s Six Bowls. You have eight SEC titles and three Heisman Trophy winners. If BYU were to play at the Jordan Hare Stadium, it would be one of the biggest venues that BYU has played against one of college football’s most famous teams.
Clemson is one of the hottest tickets in college football right now. Since the GFP started in 2014, Clemson has been represented in all but one bracket. They also beat Alabama and won the 2016 and 2018 national championships. In today’s game, they could be the most recognizable brand in the sport. Memorial Stadium is one of the most prestigious venues in college sports. BYU would take on the field against a sea of orange and white as the Tigers descend onto the field after touching one of the greatest traditions in college football, Howard’s Rock, while chatting with the maddened fans of Death Valley measure up.
It doesn’t get much bigger than playing the Gators in The Swamp. One of the most feared venues in college football, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is home to nearly 90,000 of the sport’s most passionate fans. Playing the Gators on a Saturday afternoon in Gainesville is one of the biggest stages BYU could play on and one of the hottest depending on when the game is played. Florida has had consistent success over the past two decades, including two national championships in 2006 and 2008, and an active run of three New Years six-bowl appearances in a row. Head coach Dan Mullen lets the Gators play at a high level and they are always on the lookout for an SEC title. Utah was able to plan a home with the Gators, with Florida going to Salt Lake in 2023. There’s no reason BYU couldn’t do the same (the SEC views BYU as a Power Five opponent).
Another SEC team makes the list. South Carolina isn’t as successful as its SEC counterparts in Florida and Auburn, but they’re still a recognizable brand in the sport. Williams Brice Stadium gets pretty noisy when the Gamecocks are playing well. From 2011 to 2013 they won 11 games in each of these three seasons and in 2010 the SEC East division. They have been playing soccer since 1903 and play at the toughest conference college football has to offer. Reaching a planning deal with them when the strength of the schedule and national respect of BYU are instantly increased. BYU has only made one trip in the history of its program to Palmetto State, which took place in the epic battle against Coastal Carolina last year.