SALT LAKE CITY — With all Power Five conferences having now decided how they will proceed with their football schedules this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, the focus has turned to the Group of Five conferences at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Among them is the Mountain West Conference, which announced Wednesday that its 2020 fall football schedule — if the season is played — will include eight conference games for each member institution, as well as the option to play two nonconference matchups if they so choose.
The MW’s current plan includes starting competition no earlier than Sept. 26, and the league also set three potential dates for its football championship game: Dec. 5, 12 or 19. The final version of the 2020 schedule will be announced at a later time, as the conference considers several scheduling options.
“The health and welfare of our student-athletes and campus communities continue to be paramount in our decision-making process,” MW commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement. “The modified fall structure as presently configured allows flexibility and time for our athletic programs to be in the best possible position to play collegiate sports this season. There is still a lot of work to be done and many important decisions to be made. Today’s announcement provides a path forward as we navigate the weeks ahead.”
Utah State’s original 2020 schedule includes eight Mountain West games, with home contests against San Diego State, New Mexico, Fresno State and Air Force, as well as road games at Boise State, Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado State.
The Aggies had two nonconference games canceled — the team’s home opener Sept. 3 vs. Washington State and at Washington on Sept. 19 — when the Pac-12 decided on a conference-only schedule for its league members. Utah State’s other nonconference matchups include a Sept. 12 home game against Southern Utah — a game that would now need to be scheduled at a later time — and an Oct. 2 visit to BYU.
The Cougars’ current schedule includes three games against Mountain West opponents, including the home game against Utah State and trips to Boise State (Nov. 6) and San Diego State (Nov. 14).
The MW also announced that competition for all fall Olympic sports will be conference-only, with women’s soccer and women’s volleyball champions being determined by regular-season play. Options for men’s and women’s cross country are still under review.
Also, there will be no fall competition for other MW sports, including men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, softball and baseball.