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Pac-12 announces game cancelation policy, updated tiebreakers

The Pac-12 announced several important policies related to the 2020 football season on Monday, including its game cancelation policy and the updated tiebreakers for selecting the division champions and the host of the championship game.

As far as the game cancelation policy, the Pac-12 announced that teams must have at least 53 scholarship players eligible to participate. Those players must include at least seven offensive linemen, one quarterback and four defensive linemen.

Any school who cannot reach those thresholds would still have the option to play the game. If they choose not to, the game would either be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

According to the Pac-12 press release, there are five other ways a game could be rescheduled or declared a no contest:

  1. Inability to isolate new positive cases within a team or athletic department or to quarantine high-risk contacts.
  2. Unavailability or inability to perform testing as provided by the Pac-12 medical guidelines.
  3. Campus-wide or local community transmission rates that are considered unsafe by local public health officials.
  4. Inability to perform adequate contact tracing consistent with governmental requirements.
  5. Local public health officials of the home team state that there is an inability for the hospital infrastructure to accommodate a surge.

Tiebreaker scenarios

The division winner will be the team with the best winning percentage. However, if a team cannot play all its games but is within one game played of the conference average (ex. if a team plays four conference games and the rest of the conference averages playing 5.25 conference games, which would round down to 5, that team that played four games would still be eligible to win the division).

If there is an unbalanced number of games at the end of the season, head-to-head would take precedence over winning percentage.

In case of a two-team tie, the order of breaking the tie is:

  1. Head-to-head results
  2. Record in games played within the division
  3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the Conference), proceeding through the division
  4. Record in common Conference games
  5. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  6. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s Conference opponents
  7. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics (Team Rating Score metric) following the last weekend of regular-season games
  8. Coin toss

In case of more than two teams tied, the order is:

  1. Head-to-head (best record in games among the tied teams)
  2. Record in games played within the division
  3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the Conference), proceeding through the division
  4. Record in common Conference games
  5. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  6. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s Conference opponents
  7. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of regular-season games

As for determining the conference championship game host, the team with the best record will host, regardless of rankings. If there is a tie, the tiebreakers are:

  1. Head-to-head competition, if applicable
  2. Record against the next highest-placed common opponent in the Conference (based on recording all games played within the Conference) proceeding through the Conference
  3. Record in common Conference games
  4. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  5. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of regular-season games
  6. Coin toss

The conference also announced contingency scenarios for if the average number of games played by conference teams falls to four or below, meaning the conference could plan to hold a Pac-12 championship game between two teams that play just two or three games.

Again a championship game representative would need to play no fewer than one less game than the conference average, but if conference teams averages between 3.5 and 4.49 games collectively, a team could play just three games and still be eligible for the championship game.



Erik McKinney
Author
Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.


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