Moore: Pac-12 could get more interesting if football is pushed back to 2021
We’re about to learn that the Pac-12 Conference will eliminate non-conference football games and attempt to hold a season with only conference games.
How will that look? When will it start? Will they be able to complete the season?
No one has the answers, but I’ll take a shot at what the Pac-12 should do.
Start the 2020 season in January or February of 2021. By then, maybe there will be a vaccine, which would allow fans to return too. At the very least, it would allow the conference to avoid an anticipated second wave of the virus in the fall. Also, by allowing more time to pass, more will be learned about how sports can best function during a pandemic.
I’d vote for starting the season in January and playing it through the end of March. Then pair up the NCAA championship game with the Final Four, as Bill Plaschke suggested in the L.A. Times.
How great would that be? Play the semifinal basketball games on Saturday, the championship football game on Sunday and the championship basketball game Monday night.
During both seasons, you could play the basketball games on weeknights and the football games on Saturdays.
And how about this? Make the basketball season conference-only too. What if you had a basketball-football doubleheader? Count me in for watching the Cougs play the Huskies in hoops at Beasley Coliseum on a Saturday afternoon followed by the Apple Cup that evening at Martin Stadium.
I love the idea of conference-only football games anyway. I’m honestly tired of seeing the non-conference cupcake opponents the Cougs play every year. Think about it, if you beat the three cupcakes, you only need to go 3-6 in conference games to go to a bowl game. You should have to be better than 3-6 in conference games to go to a bowl.
Nothing against Utah and Colorado, but I miss the Pac-10 in one respect – you knew you were going to play every conference team every year. Now with 12 teams, you miss two of them every year.
What’s a positive that could come out of this pandemic as it relates to Pac-12 football? Play 11 conference games every year and only one non-conference game.
Now then, if I’m a Husky fan, I’m not thrilled about not having non-conference games this year since Michigan was on the schedule. But look at it this way, you were probably going to lose to Michigan so you avoid an 0-1 start and early grumbling about new coach Jimmy Lake.
Another thing we could see, if the Pac-12 takes a page out of the MLB playbook, what about playing conference opponents in your division twice this season to limit travel? That would make it a 10-game season like they used to play. It would give you two games against Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon, and I’d be fully on board for two Apple Cups, one in Seattle, one in Pullman.
If one team wins both, you could double the bragging rights. If the teams split, you could argue all night over beers as to which team was actually better. And if the Apple Cups are played in March, it lessens the chance that I’ll be complaining about snow costing the Cougs.
If they move Pac-12 football to January, they’ll be doing it for safety reasons, but some interesting novelties could come out of it too.
More from Moore: Sports should take 2020 off and try to return in 2021