A few weeks ago, the Pac-12 announced it would move forward with conference-only schedules for the fall football season. Now the conference is finalizing its plans for a 10-game Pac-12 schedule that would tentatively start in mid-September.
Jon Wilner, a columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and author of the Pac-12 Hotline, was the first to report on a revised schedule the conference plans to release “no later than the end of next week.”
Sources within the league told Wilner the Pac-12 will begin its 10-game conference-only schedule on Sept. 19. The schedule will span 14 weeks and include at least two bye weeks for every program, which will create windows for teams to make up games if necessary.
“They are assuming some success in the next month or two (against the virus),” one source told Wilner.
In the model the conference will present next week, every Pac-12 team would play each of its five divisional opponents – meaning Washington State would keep Washington (home), Oregon (home), Oregon State (away), California (home) and Stanford (away) on its schedule – and five crossover games.
Since WSU is already scheduled to play Pac-12 South opponents UCLA (away), Utah (home), Colorado (away) and Arizona State (home), the Cougars would add either Arizona or USC to reach 10 games. If the goal is to play five home games and five away games, WSU, which already has five games at Martin Stadium on the schedule, would presumably travel to play its 10th.
A road game at USC would make the most sense, seeing as how the Trojans have four Pac-12 home games on their schedule while Arizona already has five.
According to Wilner’s report, the conference is also prepared to trim its 10-game schedule to nine games if it needs to.
With a Sept. 19 start date, teams wouldn’t begin formal training camp until the middle of August, and would only be able to do so if cleared by local and state health officials.
“The problem is that Utah and Los Angeles have very different situations; Washington and Washington State have very different situations,” a source told Wilner. “So some of it will be up to the public health officials.”
The Pac-12 has set aside three potential weekends in December for the conference championship game at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Wilner wrote.
The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 4, but may be moved to the weekend of Dec. 11-12 or Dec. 18-19.
Earlier this week, the Pac-12 indefinitely postponed its virtual media day. The event was originally scheduled to take place Wednesday through July 31.
WSU football players are partaking in mandatory workouts in Pullman. Citing school policy, WSU hasn’t released the results of coronavirus tests since an initial group of athletes returned to campus for voluntary activities.
At that point, no athletes had tested positive for the virus, athletic director Pat Chun told reporters on a Zoom conference call.
“Over the past six weeks, our COVID-19 testing and safety protocols currently in place have proven to be effective,” Chun said in a school release.
Washington State University also announced Thursday that all fall semester classes will be conducted online.
“WSU Athletics is supportive of the difficult decision made by President Kirk Schultz to move to online delivery of undergraduate coursework for the Fall 2020 semester,” Chun said.
“With campus open on a modified basis, we will continue to collaborate with our university partners as we prepare for the upcoming semester.”