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Cal Football

Pac-12 Schedule Announced: Starts Sept. 26, Big Game Oct. 24

July 31, 2020

The Pac-12 on Friday finally released the ten-game conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season, a revision caused by to the coronavirus.

For Cal the key dates are Sept. 26, when the Bears open at Oregon State, the home opener Oct., 10 against Washington and, most distressingly for Cal fans, Oct. 24, the date of the Big Game, which will be held at Memorial Stadium. This is the second time in the last nine years the Bay Area rivals meet in October. They also did so in 2012.

All of the conference teams will play five home and five road games. Originally scheduled to play nine conference games, the Bears had Arizona added to the schedule. The Bears visit Tucson on Nov. 14. 

The other home games are Oregon on Nov. 7, Utah on Nov. 21 and UCLA Friday night Dec. 4. The latter date was originally for the Pac-12 Championship in Las Vegas. The title game has been moved to Dec . 18 or 19 and will be on the home field of one of the competing teams. Commissioner Larry Scott said the agreement to hold the championship game in Vegas will be postponed until 2021,

Besides Oregon State and Arizona, Cal’s road games are at USC, Oct3, Washington State, Oct. 17 and Arizona State, Nov. 28.

Every team has two byes, one is universal on the weekend of Dec. 12. Cal’s other bye is Week 6, Oct, 30-31. Scott said in a Webinar call with Pac-12 media said that the two byes provide flexibility to reschedule games if necessary.

“There is a lot of built-in flexibility. If the situation warrants based on health and safety and how the virus proceeds, whether the first games of the year that are scheduled for the 26th or other games, we have the ability to reschedule them,” Scott said. “We will do our best with the late start to accommodate everything going on in our communities. And with these two backup dates, the bye week and the week in December, try to get through a ten-game conference schedule and have our Championship game Dec. 18 or 19.”

Just what would necessitate a game or games being canceled or rescheduled is unclear. In major league baseball, the Marlins played a game this weekend despite the fact four players had tested positive for the virus. But on Friday, the Cardinals game in Milwaukee was canceled after two positive results.

“That is a topic that we as a medical advisory group are trying to come up with some very specific criteria and benchmarks. So when we get to the point that we are ready to start the season and that occurs that we already have a decision pre-made to guide those decisions,” said Dr. Doug Aukerman, Oregon State Senior Athletic Director, Sports Medicine and spokesman for the conference medical advisory group. “It is really difficult. You can’t just say it’s a certain number of players. Because if you get a couple of infections and they are coming from different sources and they are occurring a day or two before the game, maybe you don’t have control of the virus and you need to take a pause.

“If it’s a couple of cases early in the week and they are traceable and you can trace where they were, then you have control of the transmission of the virus. It's hard to come up with an easy quick number. ...It will be a complex decision for sure.” 

Cal was originally scheduled to open the season Aug. 29 at UNLV, and like everyone else has been wondering what the revised schedule will look like. Now the Bears know.

“It certainly helps to have a schedule of our opponents so we can prioritize our game preparation,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement released by the school's Sports Information office. “But as we have throughout this pandemic, we will need to remain nimble and able to adjust quickly. We know this won’t be a normal year by any means, and we’ll continue to follow guidance from medical experts and our local public health office to determine what we are able to do to get ready for the season.”   

In addition to football, Scott said the schedules for the other fall sports are nearing completion and will be announced shortly. They, too, involve conference opponents only.

“The schedule and plans approved today and path to return to competition are subject to public health orders and will be taken in accordance with the health and well-being guidelines eveloped by our Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee,” Scott said. “The schedule and return to play plans provide for maximum flexibility and the best opportunity to play all fall sports in an environment that prioritizes safety.  At the same time, we will continue to evaluate the best available science, data and advice of public health officials as we make decisions and any required adjustments going forward.”



Teams will be allowed to begin training camp, which will consist of 25 practices, on Aug. 17. Cal has made no announcement when it intends to begin camp.



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