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Pac-12 football season to begin with 9 a.m. Arizona State vs. USC game

Sam Cooper
·4-min read

The 2020 Pac-12 football season will officially begin on Nov. 7, and it will do so much earlier than usual.

Earlier in the day that is.

Arizona State’s trip to USC will be the conference’s first game of the year, and it will kick off at 9 a.m. locally, allowing it to occupy Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” slot.

The idea of morning kickoffs was explored — and ultimately tabled — by the conference last year. “Pac-12 After Dark” has become a staple of every college football Saturday, but those late-night games can be a logistical nightmare for schools, especially with travel. In recent years, coaches have been vocal about how tough it can be on the players to be the visiting team for a game that starts later in the night. Games extending deep into the night can also be difficult for fans.

With that in mind, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said last summer that the league had conversations with Fox about having some games at 9 a.m. PT to gain some visibility on the other side of the country. At the time, some coaches were OK with the idea while others opposed it, including Stanford’s David Shaw.

Ultimately, the idea was tabled for the 2019 season but the concept has lingered among conference and network executives with an eye to the 2020 season. Before the pandemic hit, the Pac-12 had a few marquee, early season matchups against Big Ten opponents that were up for discussion. Instead, it will be two of the leading contenders for the Pac-12 South crown.

FILE - This Aug. 29, 2019, file photo shows the PAC-12 logo at Sun Devil Stadium during second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State in Tempe, Ariz. There are 130 major college football teams, spread across 41 states and competing in 10 conferences, save for a handful of independents. The goal is to have all those teams start the upcoming season at the same time — whether that's around Labor Day as scheduled or later — and play the same number of games.(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)
The Pac-12 will begin its season with an Arizona State at USC game that kicks off at 9 a.m. locally. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

Details of full Pac-12 schedule

The 9 a.m. start was the headline grab for the conference before it unveiled its full 2020 slate. Pac-12 teams will play seven-game schedules culminating with the Pac-12 title game on Friday, Dec. 18. Like the Big Ten, there will be a full slate of Pac-12 games the weekend the title game is played.

Each team will play five divisional games and one crossover game against a team from the opposite division. The conference said details for the seventh-game matchups “will be determined in the near future.” Updated tiebreaker procedures for determining the division champions and title-game participants “will be finalized in the near future.”

The Pac-12 title game will be held at the stadium of the division champion with the better record. The game was scheduled to be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, but that arrangement will now begin with the 2021 season.

The conference arranged the schedule to hold all North division rivalry games on the Friday of Week 4 of the schedule, Nov. 27. The South division rivalry games will be held in Week 6 (Dec. 11-12).

The schedule has eight Friday games in all. The road team for Friday games will have a home game the previous week.

“The schedule announced today is highlighted by exciting and tough matchups that will showcase the depth of our conference and position our teams well for CFP consideration and postseason bowl opportunities,” Scott said. “Importantly, our return to football competition will continue to place the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 football as the highest priority.”

Week 1 (Nov. 7)

Arizona at Utah

Arizona State at USC

Stanford at Oregon

UCLA at Colorado

Washington at Cal

Washington State at Oregon State

Week 2 (Nov. 14)

Utah at UCLA (Nov. 13)

Cal at Arizona State

Colorado at Stanford

Oregon at Washington State

Oregon State at Washington

USC at Arizona

Week 3 (Nov. 21)

UCLA at Oregon (Nov. 20)

Arizona at Washington

Arizona State at Colorado

Cal at Oregon State

USC at Utah

Washington State at Stanford

Week 4 (Nov. 28)

Oregon at Oregon State (Nov. 27)

Stanford at Cal (Nov. 27)

Washington at Washington State (Nov. 27)

Arizona at UCLA

Colorado at USC

Utah at Arizona State

Week 5 (Dec. 5)

Washington State at USC (Dec. 4)

Colorado at Arizona

UCLA at Arizona State

Stanford at Washington

Oregon at Cal

Oregon State at Utah

Week 6 (Dec. 12)

Arizona State at Arizona (Dec. 11)

Utah at Colorado (Dec. 11)

Cal at Washington State

Oregon State at Stanford

USC at UCLA

Washington at Oregon

Week 7 (Dec. 19)

Pac-12 championship game (Dec. 18)

TBD at TBD

TBD at TBD

TBD at TBD

TBD at TBD

TBD at TBD

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