Oregon Ducks

Predicting the Pac-12 College Football Schedule Structure

Oregon Ducks

On August 11, the Pac-12 and Big Ten both decided to delay their respective conference-only college football seasons to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Then on Wednesday, the Big Ten announced an unanimous decision to move up its season to October 24 and momentum quickly began for the Pac-12 to follow, but the date of October 24th was unrealistic.

Unlike the Big Ten, Pac-12 schools such as UCLA and Oregon stopped their training programs so while the Big Ten was operating as if the season would get moved up, plenty of Pac-12 schools were not.

Given the Pac-12 has been stating publicly that six weeks of full-contact practices are necessary before playing a competitive football game, the earliest all Pac-12 teams can play would be November 7th. That's also the date that The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported Friday following a meeting between Pac-12 conference officials, even though many Pac-12 coaches and athletic directors want to begin on October 31st. 

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 7th.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has also stated that allowing his conference to compete for a berth in the College Football Playoff will remain a priority its season will need to be finished by December 20th, when the committee decides what four teams will advance to the playoff. 


So what type of schedule should Pac-12 fans expect? Here you go.

October 31st: Non-conference game (optional and only for teams that feel comfortable playing that week.)

November 7th - December 12th: Pac-12 Conference Schedule begins. Each team plays all five teams in its division and one additional team from the opposing division. Three home games and three away games for all programs. 

December 19th: Pac-12 Championship game between the winners of the Pa-12 North and Pac-12 South divisors hosted by whoever has the better record. Potentially 2nd place in each division can play one another, 3rd place in each division, etc. 

December 20th: College Football Playoff Committee picks which teams will advance to the playoff. 

Now, with this schedule no team will have a bye week and if any games get postponed due to the coronavirus, they will not be able to make them up in time for when the playoff committee makes their final rankings. 

If the Pac-12 decides to punt on contending for the College Football Playoff, then they can play a full, nine-game conference schedule as originally scheduled with bye weeks but that seems highly unlikely. 

An official vote to move the season up to 2020 is expected to take place on Thursday, September 24th. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon head football coach Mario Crisotbal].