The Pac-12 announced Friday that it approved a 10-game conference-only schedule that will begin on Sept. 26.
The conference said there is “a lot of built-in flexibility” in the slate so it can adjust in case of outbreaks involving the coronavirus.
The late start to the season was part of a plan that calls for each school to play five home and five road games. The Pac-12 title game is scheduled for Las Vegas and slated to be held on either Dec. 18 or 19.
The week prior to the title game would be a time for schools to play a game that may have been previously postponed due to COVID-19 issues.
The Pac-12 initially announced they would play a 10-game schedule on July 10 but specifics weren’t released until Friday.
“We recognize that the best-laid plans may not come to fruition, whether being able to start on the 26th, play a complement of a minimum number of games we feel would be required for a College Football Playoff, and we may start but not be able to finish, and then we will have to adjust,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said during a video conference call. “We’ll have to adjust with a spring piece, either to finish or to start, maybe delay dates for a playoff if it’s still possible. There are many, many scenarios still on the table, but we felt it’s critical at this point to be able to give some clarity in our plan.”
Scott is aware that Major League Baseball has experienced issues by not being in a “bubble” environment. College students would face the same situation in which they wouldn’t be secluded from the general campus environment or the city population.
“There is no bubble and a bubble would not be appropriate for college sports, and for our campuses,” Scott told reporters. “These are students, and they’re not going to be able to be quarantined or isolated in a bubble, the same way pro sports do. … It’s one of the reasons why building in flexibility to the schedule is so important. If there is an outbreak on the team, we’re going in expecting that’s a real possibility. And if that happens, especially with 14-day quarantine periods currently for anyone that’s a close contact, that will require the rescheduling of a game.
“And so we’ve got two opportunities for each team to potentially reschedule, or delay the start. We realize there are some markets that don’t have the requisite rules at the moment to start on time. We need to make sure they’ve got a safe and robust training camps to be able to play on time. If a team can’t start on time, we’ve got the bye week to reschedule … either into the bye week or this Dec. 10 week that we have.”
The Pac-12 is the third of the five power leagues to announce how many games they intend to play.
The SEC on Thursday also announced a 10-game conference-only schedule with a Sept. 26 starting date.
On Wednesday, the ACC unveiled an 11-game slate that includes 10 conference games and one non-conference contest. Play would commence the weekend of Sept. 12.
The Big Ten announced three weeks ago that it would hold a conference-only scheduled but hasn’t released specifics.
The Big 12 does not yet have a formal schedule plan, but Oklahoma and Kansas currently have games scheduled for Aug. 29.
The Pac-12’s Sept. 26 slate breaks down this way: Arizona State at Arizona; USC at UCLA; Colorado at Oregon; Utah at Washington State; California at Oregon State, and Stanford at Washington.
The Arizona State-Arizona and USC-UCLA rivalry games are typically held near the end of the regular season.
Among other rivalries, Utah plays at Colorado on Oct. 3, Oregon visits Oregon State on Oct. 17, Stanford at Cal is scheduled for Oct. 24 and Washington traveling to Washington State is slated for Nov. 27.