Pac-12 announces revised 2020 football schedule
August 6, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pac-12 conference has announced a revised 2020 football schedule. The revision means that UCLA and USC will not play any non-conference games this season but will add one conference game. UCLA has gone from an opening day game at home against New Mexico State on August 29th to an opening day game at home against USC on Saturday, September 26th.
The Bruins would been heavily favored to beat New Mexico State and a win in that matchup would have given head coach Chip Kelly his first opening day and first non-conference win with UCLA. So, the cancellation really hurts UCLA. USC, on the other hand, avoids a very tough opening day game against Alabama, which was scheduled for September 5th in Arlington, Texas.
With the cancellations, the opening day of football for all Pac-12 teams has been delayed by four weeks. A joint statement from UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond and USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, was released regarding the revised schedules: "We are pleased with today's Pac-12 announcement of revised scheduling details for 2020 fall sports. We understand the great interest in the 90th edition of our historic football rivalry game, currently scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Rose Bowl. Though we are progressing toward the start of our respective seasons, at this time we do not have the necessary county and state clearances to begin competitions."
They added: "Developing a scheduling model for the fall sports season that provides optimal flexibility was an important next step in the process. In particular, our football schedules create the opportunity for us to shift our season- opening contest to open dates later in the season (Oct. 31 and Dec. 12), if necessary. UCLA and USC are in absolute alignment, and we remain in regular communication with state, local, and university officials. We will continue to follow their guidance with the utmost regard for the health and safety of our student-athletes."
This is the world we currently live in. The hope is that things will improve regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in order to allow schools like UCLA and USC to have a football season. At this point, the health and safety of the student-athletes and those connected to Pac-12 sports is the number one priority. The Pac-12 Conference is prepared to adjust plans if the health situation changes.
In addition, the Conference previously announced that Pac-12 student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.
Each Conference team will have five home and five road games. UCLA added another road game to their 2020 conference schedule, with the addition of Washington on November 21st at Seattle. USC added an additional home game to their 2020 conference schedule, with the addition of Washington State on November 7th in the Coliseum. The cancellations have given UCLA a much tougher schedule and helped soften USC's schedule.
Games that are unable to be played on their scheduled date can be made up in their bye weeks or in Week 12 (Dec. 12), with the now home-hosted Pac-12 Football Championship Game slated for December 18 or 19. That championship game was previously scheduled to be played in Las Vegas, in the new Las Vegas Raiders football stadium.
Conference football programs are permitted to begin the expanded phase of the NCAA summer access model – consisting of eight hours of strength and conditioning, six hours of film and six hours of walk-throughs per week – on Aug. 3, and are permitted to begin fall preseason camp on Aug. 17. That should give the schools enough time to get ready for the season and ensure that protocols are set-up and followed to ensure the safety of all the conference football personnel.