The Pac-12 fall football schedule was released today, as the result of a shift to a conference-only look was revealed. USC’s 2020 season had been scheduled to begin on Sept. 5, with a neutral site game against Alabama. The Trojans would have begun Pac-12 play on Sept. 19, with a road trip to Stanford. Now, USC’s season is set to begin on Sept. 26, with the crosstown rivalry game against UCLA.
With a season that will be rife with uncertainty, major changes to the schedule were to be expected. Clearly the biggest is that now the USC – UCLA game will kick off the season for the Trojans. It’s a change that makes sense, as it keeps the travel distance down early in the season, and the Pac-12 can make an attempt to ensure the most important conference games are played up front, since a postponement or cancelation of the season is still very much in play. The Pac-12 will also give the Week 1 teams the option of pushing back their game to the end of the season, if either program is unable to start camp in time or is unable to play by that Sept. 26 date.
USC and UCLA have opened the season against each other five times, with the last one happening in 1945. USC is 4-0-1 in those games, outscoring the Bruins 174-19. USC won the first two editions 76-0 and 52-0 in 1929 and 1930.
USC’s entire 2020 schedule is:
Sept. 26 – AT UCLA
Oct. 3 – CAL
Oct. 10 – AT Stanford
Oct. 17 – COLORADO
Oct. 24 – AT Arizona
Oct. 31 – BYE
Nov. 7 – WASHINGTON STATE
Nov. 14 – AT Oregon
Nov. 21 – ARIZONA STATE
Nov. 27 (Friday) – AT Utah
Dec. 5 – WASHINGTON
It’s a schedule that becomes incredibly back loaded, as USC’s toughest four games might be its last four games, with road trips to Oregon and Utah sandwiched around home games against Arizona State and Washington. A home game against Washington State has been added the schedule, as USC was originally scheduled to miss both Oregon State and Washington State this season.
The Pac-12 Championship Game will also move back two weeks and is now scheduled to take place on Dec. 19. The SEC recently announced that its championship game would take place on Dec. 19 as well. That is likely the latest it could be held, as conferences would want to give their championship winners two weeks to prepare for the College Football Playoff games.
Fall training camp is able to begin August 17 for Pac-12 programs, and though local and state ordinances might not allow for all programs to utilize their fall camp practices in the same way.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott addressed the possibility of there being fans in the stands and said it would not be a conference decision. Rather, that decision would come from local and state authorities.
Dec. 12 will be held as an open week, with the first two games of the season capable of being pushed back to this week, or to the bye week.
Athletic Directors from USC and UCLA, Mike Bohn and Martin Jarmond, released a joint statement following the schedule release:
“We are pleased with today’s Pac-12 announcement of revised scheduling details for 2020 fall sports. We understand the great interest in the 90th edition of our historic football rivalry game, currently scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Rose Bowl. Though we are progressing toward the start of our respective seasons, as this time we do not have the necessary county and state clearances to begin competitions. Developing a scheduling model for the fall sports season that provides optimal flexibility was an important next step in the process. In particular, our football schedules create the opportunity for us to shift our season-opening dates later in the season (Oct. 31 and Dec. 12), if necessary.
UCLA and USC are in absolute alignment, and we remain in regular communication with state, local, and university officials. We will continue to follow their guidance with the utmost regard for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”
Before today’s announced changes, USC’s original schedule looked like this:
Sept. 19 – AT Stanford
Sept. 26 – ARIZONA STATE
Oct. 2 – AT Utah
Oct. 10 – CALIFORNIA
Oct. 17 – AT Arizona
Oct. 24 – BYE
Oct. 31 – COLORADO
Nov. 7 – AT Oregon
Nov. 14 – WASHINGTON
Nov. 21 – AT UCLA
From the Pac-12 announcement:
- Season to commence on September 26 (normally Week 4), with the flexibility if necessary to commence on a later date if the situation warrants;
- Each team will play five home and five road games;
- Games that are unable to be played on their scheduled date can be made up in their bye weeks or in Week 12 (December 12), with the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76®, now slated for December 18 or 19; and
- The Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76®, will be held in a home-hosted model for 2020, with the Pac-12 and partners Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and MGM Resorts International agreeing to commence hosting of the Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in 2021 for its two-year run in Las Vegas in order to ensure a successful launch of the inaugural event.