SALT LAKE CITY — With an assumption of improvements with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Pac-12 is reportedly prepared to play a 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning in mid-September.
The Mercury News reported Thursday morning that the conference will announce its fall football plans and revised schedule next week, with a target opening kickoff date of Sept. 19 and a season that spans up to 14 weeks with at least two built-in byes.
A less-aggressive nine-game model is also one of six models being discussed by the Pac-12 football planning group, which includes athletic directors, coaches and directors of football operations, with input coming from the conference’s coronavirus advisory committee, the paper outlined.
School presidents and chancellors will vote on the final model version next week. The Mercury News says it will include:
• 10 conference games, including division opponents and an additional five crossover games.
• The mid-September start, which would have been Week 3 on the original schedule. “The start date gives the conference time to ride out the current coronavirus surges; teams would not start formal training camp until the middle of August,” Jon Wilner wrote in the article. “That phase of the process will require approval from health officials.”
• Built-in byes to give open dates for possible make-up games.
• Flexible dates over the first three weeks of December for the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. This also implies a revised overall bowl schedule.
One source told The Mercury News this is contingent on an improved handle on the coronavirus situation.
“They are assuming some success in the next month or two (against the virus),” the source reportedly told the paper.
The article also noted that while the Pac-12 and Big Ten have both canceled all nonconference games, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are trying to work out plus-one models that would allow for one out-of-league game.
As it stands, Utah’s schedule includes games against South Division opponents UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado along with crossover games vs. California, Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. Oregon has been listed as a possible 10th opponent by 247sports.com.