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Steve Griffin, Deseret News
BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake talks with host Dave McCann during an interview on BYUtv during the Media Day in Provo on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

PROVO — Especially now, in the wake of a 4-9 season, many observers say that BYU’s football schedules are too tough.

As an independent, the Cougars play a front-loaded schedule featuring plenty of road games against Power 5 conference opponents. BYU opens the season at Arizona and also has road games against Wisconsin and Washington in September.

In 2019, the Cougars open the season with a home game against Utah, followed by a contest at Tennessee and home games against USC and Washington.

But coach Kalani Sitake isn’t backing down from the challenging schedules. He said he knew exactly what he was getting into before he was hired.

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“During the interview process, I was excited about the future schedules. I was so excited. My first thought was, I wish I could have played this schedule (as a player),” Sitake said. “I thought it was a great challenge. Our thought was, if we’re going to work toward a Power 5 (conference) then we need to have a schedule that matches it.

"We have needed to depend on our fans base, which is a big-time Power 5 fan base. It’s better than a lot of places in the Power 5. That’s big for us. Everything (athletic director) Tom (Holmoe) and the administration has done is to get us ready to be a Power 5 program.”

In 2018, BYU hosts one Power 5 opponent, California, on Sept. 8.

In November, the Cougars travel to Boise State and conclude the regular season at archrival Utah.