No. 14 Oregon, the Pac-12’s only ranked team, will open play at home Nov. 7 against Stanford as part of the league’s seven-game football schedule announced Saturday.
Despite the shortened season, the Pac-12 will still have two rivalry weekends. North Division rivals will play each other in Week 4, with this year’s installments of the Big Game (Stanford at Cal), the Apple Cup (Washington at Washington State) and the Oregon at Oregon State game all taking place on Friday, Nov. 27.
South Division rivals will face off in Week 6. Arizona State will travel to Arizona to play for the Territorial Cup on Friday, Dec. 11, and the Rumble in the Rockies between Utah and Colorado in Boulder will also take place that day. UCLA will host USC as they vie for the Victory Bell on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Though the rivalries remain intact, the atmosphere will be different this season. No fans will be allowed at any games on Pac-12 campuses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Every Pac-12 team will play the five opponents in its division, plus a divisional crossover game, before the conference championship game.
Preseason favorite Oregon plays UCLA at home in its crossover game on Friday, Nov. 20. The other crossover games are Arizona at Washington, Cal at Arizona State, Colorado at Stanford, Oregon State at Utah and Washington State at USC.
“Our guys are ready to roll; we’ve been at it,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said Saturday morning on College GameDay. “We’ve been watching everybody else play ball. Now it’s our turn.”
The conference championship game will be held Friday, Dec. 18. The teams that do not qualify for the title game will play an additional conference game against a squad from the opposite division the same weekend.
Pac-12 teams will still be eligible for inclusion in the College Football Playoff, though the conference is playing the fewest amount of scheduled games among the Power 5 conferences. The Pac-12 title game is scheduled to be played just two days before CFP Selection Day on Dec. 20, when the 13-member selection committee chooses the top four teams in the country.
In early August, the Pac-12 postponed all fall sports until at least Jan. 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic, citing the need for rapid testing as a requirement to return safely. A deal to use an FDA-approved rapid antigen test manufactured in early September gave the conference’s medical advisory board the confidence it was looking for to proceed with a season.
Government restrictions about practice, which factored into the Pac-12’s decision to delay, have also been eased in the past few weeks. Earlier this week, the state of California amended its interim guidance for college sports to allow teams to practice in groups of 75 when outdoors. The previous limit was 12.
That change still needed local government approval, which was quickly granted for California, UCLA and UCLA. Stanford is still waiting for Santa Clara County to approve its return-to-play plan, which is expected to come before the Cardinal open training camp.
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura contributed to this report.
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