WRITTEN BY: Jake Geiger, Staff Writer
The Pac-12 announced last Thursday that they will resume a college football season on Nov. 6, becoming the last power five conference to do so. They also announced that basketball and winter sports will begin on Nov. 25, which is the presumptive start date for all collegiate teams.
Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors have been meeting with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott the past few weeks to discuss the possibility of having a college football season. After the Big Ten resumed football, the chances of the Pac-12 returning immediately increased. Scott and Pac-12 administrators finally came to the conclusion of a six-game season starting Nov. 6.
Scott explained that the primary motive behind the decision is more scientific research about COVID-19 transmission rates.
“This has been the result of what we said back in August — that we’d follow the science, follow the data, follow the advice from our medical experts,” he said. “We know how badly our student-athletes want to compete as student-athletes for the Pac-12, but that we would only do so when we felt that we could do so safely.”
Another critical factor was increased accessibility to COVID-19 tests for players and staff. All players will be tested once a week and health professionals at Pac-12 universities will be consulted frequently during the season.
Each team will play their division opponents, which accounts for the conference’s five scheduled games. The last game for each team will be a crossover game between divisions before the Pac-12 conference championship game on Dec. 18. Teams who do not make the championship will also play another game against a crossover rival the same week. The full schedule will be released sometime in the upcoming week.
The Pac-12 has also confirmed that no fans will be allowed at any of the team’s games. Teams can also begin practice immediately once they complete the conference’s health screening forms.
Even though the Pac-12 is resuming play, they will not be eligible for the College Football Playoff because of the conference’s shortened schedule. Favorites coming into the season are Oregon, USC and Washington in that order.
Oregon returns potential top-five pick Penei Sewell and a bunch of talent on both sides of the ball.
USC comes into the season with the second-best odds, and returning quarterback Kedon Slovis is a large part of that. Slovis had 30 touchdowns with only nine interceptions as a true freshman, so expectations are sky-high for him.
Lastly, Washington has the third-best odds to win the Pac-12 championship. The Huskies lost starting quarterback Jacob Eason to the NFL Draft, and also need to replace 1,000-yard rusher Salvon Ahmed. Despite these offensive losses, the Washington defense is likely to carry the Huskies to wins this year as they return nine out of 11 starters.