No. 2: @ BYU
The Big 12 didn’t do the Red Raiders any favors this year when it came to the four new additions to the conference. Aside from not getting to play a Cincy team that is expected to be one of the worst in the league, Tech will have to travel to Provo, Utah to take on a scrappy BYU program in one of the tougher places to play in the NCAA.
With a capacity of over 63,000 people and sitting at an elevation of 4,649 feet, LaVell Edwards Stadium is a difficult place for opponents to traverse. That’s why the October 21 trip that the Texas Tech football team will take there is going to be one of the season’s biggest challenges.
What will also make this game a real landmine is that it lies in between two home games against Kansas State and TCU, the two Big 12 Championship Game participants from 2022. Each of those games will be emotionally charged for the Red Raiders and having a trip to a new stadium against a team that is usually hell to handle on the road will make this three-game stretch one that defines the season.
Last year, when Baylor was ranked 9th in the nation, the Bears went to Provo and fell 26-20 in overtime. However, later in the season, unranked Arkansas did waltz into town and hand the Cougars a thorough 52-35 beating.
Still, in recent years, BYU has scored road wins over No. 21 Utah and No. 19 Arizona State (in 2021) and No. 24 USC (in 2019). All of those wins came under the watch of the current BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, who has turned his program into one of the toughest blue-collar programs in the game.
The Cougars hit the portal hard this offseason to reinforce an offense that scored over 31 points per game last fall but also sustained some significant losses. Most notable is QB Kedon Slovis who has previous stops at Pitt and USC on his ledger.
To remake a defense that was one of the worst in the country, Sitake essentially brought in an entirely new coaching staff on that side of the ball. Will those changes make a huge difference in just a year’s time? That will be the key to BYU’s season.
Regardless, expect this mid-season tilt to be a tough one for the Red Raiders. The atmosphere in Provo is always charged and the altitude helps play a factor for the home team. So keep this game on your radar because it looks like it could be a potential roadblock to a Big 12 title game appearance for the Red Raiders.