BYU football removes Rice from 2023 schedule as Big 12 rescheduling continues

BYU now has seven games remaining on 2023 schedule as it transitions to Big 12

BYU defensive back Matthew Criddle (17) celebrates after breaking up a pass to Idaho State wide receiver Jared Scott in the first half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

BYU football will no longer play Rice in 2023, the latest scheduling casualty in the program’s move to the Big 12.

Rice athletics announced Friday its home-and-home series with the Cougars has been replaced with games against UConn. It means both meetings between BYU and Rice — scheduled for 2023 and 2025 — will not happen.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has been in the process of taking games off of BYU’s 2023 schedule as the program moves from an independent to the Big 12. To make room for a conference schedule, the program will have to remove or reschedule eight or nine pre-scheduled games every year through the 2026-27 season.

Already, Holmoe has rescheduled BYU’s game against South Florida in 2023. It will now be played in 2026. Several weeks ago, BYU decided to keep Arkansas on its 2023 schedule.

Holmoe has prioritized in-state rivalries when looking at which games to keep. BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said he does not have a preference.

“It’s all contracts,” Sitake told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t care who it is to be honest with you. I didn’t come here with the idea that I was going to run the schedule. I came here with the idea to get our team ready to play 12 times a year and earn a 13th game.”

With the removal of Rice, BYU has seven games on its 2023 slate currently. It will likely have to remove three or four more games. The Big 12 will only allow conference members to play a maximum of four non-conference games per year.

USC, Tennessee, UNLV and UCF are still on the schedule for 2023. In-state rivals Utah State and Southern Utah also remain. Arkansas is the only team locked on the 2023 schedule.