Call your friends. Cancel your plans. Pull that dusty purple flag out of the back of your closet.
Pac-12 football is finally coming back.
After adopting a conference-only fall football season July 31, then postponing it altogether less than two weeks later, the Pac-12’s CEO group voted unanimously on Thursday for a seven-game season that will start on Nov. 6 and run through Dec. 18. All Pac-12 teams that do not advance to the conference title game will play a cross-division opponent of the same seed on championship weekend.
In a media webinar Thursday, Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson said the extra game was added because “we want to be in the best position, very frankly, to get ourselves in the CFP [College Football Playoff] conversation, but also bowl game consideration at the very highest levels. And we want to play.”
And so they will. A Pac-12 release stated that the revised 2020 fall football schedule will be finalized “in the coming days.” It will include games against all five divisional opponents, plus two cross-divisional games that will also count in the conference standings.
Aside from football, the Pac-12 is also ready to resume its basketball and winter sports seasons. Pac-12 mens and womens basketball will begin Nov. 25, which is consistent with the NCAA’s allotted start date, and other winter sports may commence alongside their determined NCAA start dates as well.
Fans will not be allowed at any sporting events taking place on Pac-12 campuses this fall, however. The release stated that the decision “will be revisited based upon health and safety considerations in January 2021.”
Still, football with no fans is better than no football at all.
“Everyone in this program is committed to being ready to play our best football,” UW head coach Jimmy Lake said in a statement on Thursday. “We are all looking forward to getting back on the field and competing.
“Our medical staff and administration deserve a lot of credit for all of the hard work and dedication they’ve shown to make this possible.”
On his radio show on 950 AM KJR on Wednesday, Lake said his team would be prepared to play on Oct. 31, but added that he’d prefer to start a season on the weekend of Nov. 7.
On that point, the former Washington defensive coordinator got his wish.
“I think it would be more fair for everybody to start on Nov. 7 [weekend] and go six straight weeks, ending with a Pac-12 championship game, and then with second place against second place and third place against third place [etc. on Dec. 18],” Lake said Wednesday.
Following a three-week break, UW’s players returned to campus last weekend and are currently completing a seven-day quarantine. Lake said, regardless of the Pac-12 vote, his team will resume practices in shirts and shorts on Tuesday.