Maybe the Pac-12 doesn’t hate BYU after all.
The popular assumption among many Cougar fans has been that the league didn’t invite BYU to join along with Utah because of religious reasons. That was likely one component – if for no other reason than Sunday sports scheduling.
However, it must not be personal. Otherwise, the league wouldn’t OK Utah playing BYU in a November football game in 2018.
Utah athletics director Chris Hill announced in a Youtube video on Tuesday that the teams are adding 2017 and 2018 rivalry games, in addition to the existing 2013 and 2016 matchups. The 2018 game, Hill said, will be the final game of the year.
Either way, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is looking downright accommodating. When Utah joined the conference, it seemed as though scheduling BYU would become onerous, almost impossible. That’s partly because Scott supposedly wanted the league to play almost exclusively conference games in the late season. However, flexibility has allowed the Cougars to meet Southern California in November games in 2019, 2021 and 2023 and now Utah in 2018.
It would be naïve to think Scott isn’t doing so for the good of the conference. Still, if as Hill asserts, the Pac-12 officially approves the Ute-Cougar games, Scott deserves credit for recognizing good games outside the conference can still be good for the league.