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Pac-12 releases game cancellation policy, tiebreaker procedures for 2020 football season

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The Pac-12 football season is right around the corner!

The conference announced a seven-game conference only schedule starting on November 7, but there were still a few unanswered questions that were on the table:

What happens in the event of a COVID outbreak amongst one of the teams? With no bye weeks on the schedule and zero room for error, this is something that could realistically be a scheduling issue moving forward.

The Pac-12’s conference-only schedule consists of seven games: five divisional opponents, one crossover, and one final game for all teams (including the Pac-12 title game on December 18). What happens if there is a tie in one of the divisions? 

On Monday, the Pac-12 conferences released a statement answering both those questions:

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon wide receiver Keenan Howry].

GAME CANCELLATIONS

The Pac-12 has established minimum thresholds to play a football game of at least 53 scholarship players available to participate and the following minimum number of position scholarship players available to begin a game: seven (7) offensive linemen, one (1) quarterback and four (4) defensive linemen.

The team who must cancel has the option of playing with fewer than 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if it elects to do so.

If no action above is taken, Commissioner Larry Scott can deem the game a no contest or reschedule.

In addition, a game should be rescheduled or declared a no contest in the event of the following COVID-19 related impacts:

 
  • Inability to isolate new positive cases within a team or athletic department or to quarantine high-risk contacts.
  • Unavailability or inability to perform testing as provided by the Pac-12 medical guidelines.
  • Campus-wide or local community transmission rates that are considered unsafe by local public health officials.
  • Inability to perform adequate contact tracing consistent with governmental requirements.
  • Local public health officials of the home team state that there is an inability for the hospital infrastructure to accommodate a surge.

TIEBREAKERS

[Tiebreak Procedures to Determine Division Champions (Unbalanced Conference Schedule]

In order for teams to be considered in a divisional tiebreak scenario, teams must play no less than one fewer conference game than the average number of conference games played by all conference teams (rounded up/down at .50).

The winner of each Division - North and South - will be determined by the best winning percentage within the conference, including the crossover game.

Two-Team Tie

  • Head-to-head results
  • Record in games played within the division
  • Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the Conference), proceeding through the division
  • Record in common Conference games
  • Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  • Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s Conference opponents
  • Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics (Team Rating Score metric) following the last weekend of regular-season games
  • Coin toss

Multiple-Team Ties

The following procedures will only be used to eliminate all but two teams, at which point the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied:

  • Head-to-head (best record in games among the tied teams)
  • Record in games played within the division
  • Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the Conference), proceeding through the division
  • Record in common Conference games
  • Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  • Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s Conference opponents
  • Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of regular-season games

Determination of Championship Game Host

The home team in the Pac-12 Championship Game will be determined by the record in all Conference games. In the event of a tie, the following procedures will be applied to determine the home team:

  • Head-to-head competition, if applicable
  • Record against the next highest-placed common opponent in the Conference (based on recording all games played within the Conference) proceeding through the Conference
  • Record in common Conference games
  • Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  • Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of regular-season games
  • Coin toss

Tiebreak Procedures to Determine Conference Championship Participations if Average Number of Conference Games Falls To 4 OR Below (Unbalanced Conference Schedule) 

In the event that the average number of conference games falls to 4 or below, the two teams with the best winning percentage (both divisional and cross-divisional) within the conference will participate in the Pac- 12 Football Championship Game (regardless of division affiliation).

Read more from the Pac-12 in their statement here.

Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast.