Pac-12 Football: 'Deep frustration' throughout conference in handling of CFB return


When the Big Ten announced Wednesday it will begin the college football season on October 24, the Pac-12 scheduled a meeting for Friday where a vote was largely expected to take place.

But then Friday morning, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said he "wasn't expecting a vote today." Following the meeting, the Pac-12 released a statement announcing they "plan to reconvene this coming Thursday, September 24 to make a decision regarding possible return prior to January 1st."

What's the hold up? Well, coaches and athletic directors across the conference cannot agree on the start date with many wanting to begin on October 31, rather than the expected November 7 date, per Jon Wilner of the Mercury News. 

According to Wilner, schools such as Arizona have been able to workout frequently and could be ready to play by Halloween while other schools such as UCLA and Oregon haven't been able to workout. UCLA desires an eight-week ramp up time while other schools say their programs can get it done in four weeks. 

All offseason, Pac-12 coaches such as Oregon State's Jonathan Smith have said they would need six weeks of full-contact practices before playing a competitive football game. 

When the Pac-12 season was suspended, Oregon permitted its players to go home. Since then, Oregon has told its players to report to campus on September 20 with training beginning a week later. If that's the case, and the six-week training period is implemented, then the Pac-12 college football season could begin as soon as November 7, speculatively speaking, two months ahead of the tentatively scheduled January 1, 2021 timeline.


But, many Pac-12 schools want to ignore the six-week ramp up time for all schools and begin games on Halloween. 

A happy medium could be having schools that can play by October 31 be allowed to schedule a non-conference game leading into Pac-12 play while other schools continue to prepare for the season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 college football season will be seen with a large asterisk regardless so who cares if some Pac-12 teams play more than others.

Then, if being eligible for the College Football Playoff remains a top priority and conference play starts on November 7, each school can play six regular-season games: five games inside its division and one game outside of it. Then a conference championship game can be held between the division winners on December 19, a day before the committee selects the four teams for the playoff. 

Could a 7-0 Pac-12 team make the playoff? Who knows. Especially since they will have played less games than every other Power 5 conference champion but Larry Scott has said that he will prioritize allowing the conference to contend for a playoff berth. 

"The best-case scenario is six weeks of practice training camp and start in the end of October, early November," Scott told ESPN Wednesday evening. "But that is still subject to county approvals which we don’t have yet. So that is the best case. And we’re going to do everything possible to play this fall if we can. Play a Pac-12 Championship Game and have teams compete for a College Football Playoff if it is possible."