4 min read

The time has come. The Big 12 era of BYU football is here.

The time has come. The Big 12 era of BYU football is here.

Congratulations, friend. You did it. You have made it through another offseason. Football is officially back. BYU kicks off tomorrow and the Big XII era is officially here.

What a damn time to be alive!

As we set to embark on a new era of BYU football, a few things have come into my mind about the trek that awaits each of us. There will be ups and there will be downs, there will be highs and there will be lows. The future will be a trek. And you know how much you hated going on Pioneer Trek back in the day. Treks are tough!

I've given myself some guardrails to help me stay on the path of the trek, and that's what I want to share today. I'm not going to tell you that you have to implement these guardrails in your lives, but I think they will help me keep an eye on the future prize as BYU navigates the present.

BYU is not Utah - and that's a good thing!

I can already see the early spring 2024 discussion happening on sports talk radio. "Where is BYU after one year in a P5 Conference relative to where Utah was after one year in a P5 Conference?" People are going to want to compare BYU's starting point to where Utah was at at various checkpoints in their treck over a decade ago. It's going to happen to all of us at some point.

But BYU is not Utah. The trek the Utes went on was entirely different than the trek the Cougars are going on now. How so?

BYU is at a different starting point than Utah was, after 12 years as an independent.

The college football world is dramatically different than it was a year ago. There aren't 5 power leagues anymore. There is a weird division of Power 2, Power next 2, and the rest.

BYU also isn't the only Power School on the block. When Utah moved to the PAC-12, they dominated the local market with Power 5 discussion while BYU had to fight for relevancy with Independence.

So, things are different. It will always be tempting to compare BYU to Utah, and as the teams move forward we should compare BYU and Utah's future to one another. But comparing the past? It's two dramatically different equations.

Compare BYU to BYU. Celebrate progress and success. If BYU goes 6-6 this year and then 7-5 next year, that's progress. Celebrate that progress.

Get angry when BYU backslides or doesn't progress. Depend forward movement and have high expectations.

But don't let Utah of the past be the bar. The path is different. The conference is different. Everything is different.

BYU is not Utah.

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

First, you should recognize that quote. If you don't recognize that quote, I'm disappointed in you. Jimmy Dugan is a legend and A League Of Their Own is even more legendary.

Second, the Big XII is going to be hard. BYU might not win the conference for a while. A while might be five years. A while might be 25 yeras. It might be a while before BYU is a championship team again. It's going to be hard.

But the hard will make it great. The journey and the steps along the way are going to be a ton of fun. BYU might get beat by TCU the first few times they play them. But one year in the future (hell, maybe this year, I don't know... this is an example so just work with me for a minute) BYU will beat TCU for the first time as Big XII foes. And that first time will feel wonderful. It will seem like a championship.

The hard is going to result in some really crappy days. BYU might get blown out by Texas Tech. They might lose to Iowa State to miss out on bowl eligibility. Things are going to get tough.

But BYU is tough too - they proved that with independence. They went through losses and disappointments... and remember how sweet the Big XII invitation felt?

It's going to be hard. But the hard is what will make this whole process great.

Don't worry about the future of football... it's not going anywhere.

The takes have been flying from all around the country that college football as we know it is dying. That's garbage. Rubbish. Poppycock. Bullshit. It's nonsensical takes meant for social media interaction. The game is not going anywhere at all.

The game is changing, sure. But the game has always been changing. The beauty of college football is that it adapts to whatever changes are made and continutes to be great.

I'm not going to pretend to know what will happen next. Could the SEC and Big Ten back away from the NCAA and create their own league? Sure. Maybe they will! Could realignment go crazy again in five years and the Big XII be completely left in the wilderness with nowhere to go? Can't rule it out!

But what I can confidently say is that as long as there are colleges playing the sport, it will continue to be great. The transfer portal won't kill it. NIL won't kill it. Realignment won't kill it. It will change and adapt and continue to be great.

So don't lament the future that hasn't happened yet. Maybe we can long for the past and remember the good 'ol days, but don't lament the future that hasn't happened. College football will be standing long after either of us are gone.

And with that... are you ready for some football?