After moving to an all-conference 10-game format for the 2020 football season earlier this month, the Pac-12 announced specific opponents and dates for that schedule Friday.
Previously scheduled nonconference matchups against UNLV, TCU and Cal Poly have all been canceled for the Bears. Cal will kick off its season Sept. 26, the same day it was scheduled to commence its conference schedule, and end its regular season just one week later than previously anticipated Dec. 4.
“It certainly helps to have a schedule of our opponents so we can prioritize our game preparation. But as we have throughout this pandemic, we will need to remain nimble and able to adjust quickly,” said Cal football head coach Justin Wilcox in a press release. “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.”
All of the Bears’ original nine conference opponents await the blue and gold, with Arizona serving as the 10th addition. Colorado is the only Pac-12 school that Cal will not play. The dates of the games against conference foes, however, have been reshuffled.
Wilcox will lead his team to Oregon State for opening weekend before another away game against in-state opponent USC on Oct. 3. The Bears’ home opener will be against Washington, whom they have beaten in their last two meetings, on Oct. 10.
Perhaps the most important run of games for Cal will come in late October. The Big Game has been rescheduled from Nov. 21 to Oct. 24. After hosting archrival Stanford, the Bears will have a bye week before hosting Pac-12 North favorites Oregon. Both those games could have major implications for a Cal football team that is considered a dark horse for the Pac-12 title. The blue and gold will finish their season against in-state adversary UCLA on Dec. 4.
These changes have come in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Pac-12 laid out plans for fall sports, including men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross-country, to take place. This news comes even as universities begin to shift to online coursework in response to the pandemic. On July 21, UC Berkeley announced that it would begin the fall semester with remote instruction.
“We have been committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to our athletic programs,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a press release, addressing the dangers posed by the pandemic. “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 developed by our Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee.”
The same press release stipulates that games can be rescheduled to teams’ bye weeks or to an empty week at the end of the season, which will precede the Pac-12 Championship Game. Additionally, all student-athletes who elect not to participate because of health concerns will still have their scholarships honored.
Cal football 2020 schedule
Sept. 26 at Oregon State
Oct. 3 at USC
Oct. 10 vs. Washington
Oct. 17 at Washington State
Oct. 24 vs. Stanford
Oct. 31 — Bye
Nov. 7 vs. Oregon
Nov. 14 at Arizona
Nov. 21 vs. Utah
Nov. 28 at Arizona State
Dec. 5 vs. UCLA