Pac-12 Votes To Start Abbreviated Football Season on November 6

By in Sports on
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Pac 12 Football
  • Pac-12 to begin seven-game football schedule November 6
  • Conference voted in August to postpone all fall sports until 2021
  • No word yet on whether Pac-12 teams will be eligible for College Football Playoff

A little more than a week after the Big Ten announced its plans to resume the fall sports schedule, the Pac-12 has followed suit. Late Thursday, the league announced that it will begin a seven-game, conference-only football schedule on November 6.

The Pac-12’s CEO group voted in favor of the plans on Thursday, shortly before the league announced its return. The conference announced in early-August that it would postpone all fall sports until at least January 1, as a result of the pandemic.

In a statement, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said,

“This has been the result of what we said back in August – that we’d follow the science, follow the data, follow the advice from our medical experts, and that we know how badly our student-athletes want to compete, as student-athletes for the Pac-12, but that we would only do so when we felt that we could do so safely.”

Men’s and women’s basketball will begin on November 25, while other winter sports will get underway in line with their sports’ NCAA seasons. Some other fall sports, including volleyball and cross-country, will likely wait until the spring.

Conference-Only Schedules

Every Pac-12 football team will play the five other schools in its own division as well as one crossover game against a team in the opposite division. The conference title game is slated for December 18. The teams that do not advance to the Pac-12 title game will play one extra conference game against a team from the opposite division that same weekend. The conference is expected to unveil its full football schedule in the coming days.

However, there is no word yet on whether any Pac-12 teams will be invited to the College Football Playoff. Pac-12 schools are playing shorter schedules than teams in other conferences, which could be seen as an unfair advantage. Even if the conference ultimately fails to get a team into the playoff, just having eligibility is of huge financial importance to the Pac-12 and to college football bettors across the country. Last year, every Power 5 conference received $66 million in base money as a result of having eligibility for the playoff.

Scott added,

“Our schools, knowing we’re going to be able to play a meaningful number of games, high-level games, with our championship concluding before that final CFP meeting, we absolutely have the opportunity to have a team in the mix for the playoff, and I know our teams and our student-athletes are coming back, eager to compete for that.”

Health Protocols

The conference will not allow any fans to attend any Pac-12 games this year, a decision that will be revisited depending on health conditions at some point in January.

At the time the Pac-12 voted to postpone fall sports, the schools insisted that rapid daily testing would be required in order to safely play sports. At the time, the schools did not believe getting access to that kind of testing would be a possibility.

However, the Pac-12 reached a deal with a company less than a month later to provide daily testing approved by the FDA that will begin operations early next month. Athletes will undergo daily testing, with at least one PCR test every week.

The Pac-12 ultimately caved to pressure after most other conferences insisted on moving forward with football season despite the pandemic. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 all voted to play conference-only football schedules without postponing the season. Most expected other conferences to postpone football after the Big Ten voted to do so, but those decisions never came.

Health restrictions in California and Oregon were seen as obstacles to the Pac-12’s ability to resume play. However, the Governors for both states said on Thursday that none of the state-level measures put in place actually prevented the conference from proceeding with sports.

The conference said that all teams that have gotten the approval of local health experts can begin practice right away.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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