Since Kalani Sitake took over as BYU's head coach in 2016, BYU has beaten P5 teams like Michigan State, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and USC among others. They've also taken down schools like Ole Miss, Texas, Cal, Virginia, and Nebraska since going independent in 2011. As much as BYU would love to compete for a spot in a power five conference, however, no number of P5 wins can gain them P5 status.
BYU's non-P5 status hurts them on the recruiting trail. I asked former UCLA head coach Jim Mora how coaches out west view BYU as a football program. Mora believes BYU is "kind of right in the middle" of the P5 and G5 division in college football. "It's almost like they are in purgatory and it's tough on them," Mora added.
In April, Mora offered his opinion on BYU's ability to compete in a power five conference. "Teams like BYU and Boise State, when you watch them play, you say 'these guys could compete in the PAC-12.' Could they compete in the SEC? It would be tough right now because of the type of athlete...I can tell you this, they are very very well respected." You can listen to his comments in the video below.
In my follow-up conversation with Mora, I asked him what he meant when he said that BYU could compete in the PAC-12. He doubled down, saying BYU could be more than competitive in the PAC-12. "I will go further," Mora said. "Not just compete, they can win in the PAC-12. I played them several times and they were always as tough of competition we faced. Going into those games against them, you were worried."
"I think BYU would be a formidable opponent for anybody in the PAC-12," Mora concluded. "I think they would give anyone a run for their money and they would win their share of games." You can listen to his complete response in the video at the top of this article.
BYU will have an opportunity to put Mora's theory to test this season. The Cougars are set to face Arizona, Utah, Arizona State, Washington State, and USC in 2021.
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