SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Pacific-12 Conference announced Friday it would begin its 10-game, conference-only college football season on Sept. 26 with a schedule with built-in make-up game provisions if a team is forced to reschedule because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The conference also announced that any Pac-12 student-athletes who chooses not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.
On the gridiron, the annual showdown between Arizona and Arizona State and the battle of Los Angeles bragging rights between UCLA-USC will take place on opening weekend instead of at its traditional spot near the end of the regular season.
Other first weekend matchup will be California facing off against Oregon State, highly ranked Oregon will open against Colorado, Stanford will take on Washington and Washington State will meet Utah.
For San Francisco Bay Area fans, the Big Game between Cal and Stanford will now take place in week 5.
"The schedule and return to play plans provide for maximum flexibility and the best opportunity to play all fall sports in an environment that prioritizes safety," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. "At the same time, we will continue to evaluate the best available science, data and advice of public health officials as we make decisions and any required adjustments going forward."
In the case a team is sidelined for a weekend by an outbreak and needs to reschedule, the league has built in a bye week for each team and also will extend the season for additional weekend on Dec. 12th if necessary.
The conference also will go forward with plans to hold a league championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Dec. 18 or Dec. 19.
"From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we have been committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to our athletic programs," Scott said. "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 league also approved conference-only scheduling plans for men's & women's soccer, women's volleyball, and men's & women's cross country, with competition to start no earlier than the weekend of September 26.
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