Could Pac-12 football be closer than we realize?

Henry Chisholm Avatar
August 30, 2020

BOULDER — The Pac-12 decided in early August to cancel all athletic competitions through the end of December. This week, reports surfaced that the conference will monitor developments with COVID-19 and consider starting the basketball season before 2021.

Reports also surfaced regarding the Big Ten’s postponement of its football season, which was canceled at about the same time as the Pac-12’s. Now, it appears that the Big Ten’s best-case scenario is a football season that starts at Thanksgiving and runs through the winter.

Some rumors have swirled regarding the potential for the Pac-12 to make the same decision, but no credible outlet has reported sources acknowledging the potential for a pre-2021 start to the upcoming Pac-12 football season.

247Sports reported this week that the Pac-12 has created a plan for a winter season that would include a six-game schedule beginning in early February. Each team would play five conference games before, hopefully, playing a final game against a Big Ten opponent to end the season.

This plan, of course, is reliant on the Big Ten still playing football in mid-March when the Pac-12 would be looking to wrap up its season. The Pac-12 vs. Big Ten games would, in theory, be played 16 weeks after Thanksgiving. Under normal circumstances, the final postseason college football game would be played about 17 weeks after Week 1, so this timeline would be plausible.

This schedule would also give NFL prospects a chance to recover for one month before the draft. The NFL could push back the combine—or even the draft, though that is much less likely—so that those players could play a full season and still have a chance to go through a more normal pre-draft process.

If the Pac-12 proposes this plan to the CEO Group and it is accepted, the first stage of practices would start sometime between mid-September and early October, per the 247Sports report. Full practices would start as early as Nov. 22.

The exact plan is still up in the air and is dependent on how the pandemic progresses, but 247Sports says this is the “primary schedule the conference is focused on at this time.”

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