Report: Cal Will Face Arizona for Its 10th Game in New Pac-12 Schedule

Brandon McIlwain (5) was Cal's quarterback the last time the Bears faced Arizona, in 2018, a game the Wildcats wonPhoto by Casey Sapio - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Thursday's report that Cal would play 10 conference games instead of nine as initially scheduled led to guesses as to whether Arizona or Colorado would be added to the Golden Bears' schedule. Well, nothing has been announced but it appears the Golden Bears will face Arizona, according to a Twitter message by Brett McMurphy of Stadium.

The Mercury News reported earlier this week that the Pac-12 is planning a 10-game conference-only schedule that will begin on Sept. 19. That would require one game to be added to each team's schedule.

The only two conference opponents not on Cal's initial schedule were Arizona and Colorado.  So apparently it will be the Wildcats, although the site for that game was not reported.

The Pac-12 is expected to release its proposed schedule sometime next week, and the 12 university presidents must approve it before it goes into effect.

The other five added matchups are interesting.

Oregon was not originally scheduled to face Utah this season, but according to McMurphy the two teams that met in last year's Pac-12 championship game will now meet during the regular season.

Also, Arizona State will face Stanford, Colorado will play Oregon State, Washington will go up against UCLA and USC will face Washington State.

It's hard to say which teams were the winners and losers in these matchups, but adding a 10th game should help the Golden Bears. Arizona and Colorado are expected to be the two worst teams in the conference in 2020, so adding either one should help the Bears. 

However Cal has lost its last five games against Arizona and has not defeated the Wildcats since 2009, when the Bears won in Berkeley.

It's unclear where this season's Cal-Arizona game would be played.

Cal was orginally scheduled to play five of its nine conference games at home in 2020, so if we assume that the sites of those nine originally scheduled games will remain the same, that would suggest the Bears would face Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

However, Arizona also has five conference home games on its original nine-game conference schedule, so whichever team would host the Cal-Arizona contest would have six home games and only four road games. 

That doesn't seem fair on a number of levels.

Arizona was the home team the last time the teams met in 2018, so would that mean the next meeting would be in Berkeley?

The conundrum leaves open the possibility that the entire original schedule will be blown up, perhaps changing the sites of some matchups in the original schedule. Cal was initially scheduled to host Oregon, Washington, Utah, UCLA and Stanford and go on the road against Oregon State, Washington State, USC and Arizona State.

Of course, there is still uncertainty as to whether the season will start on Sept. 19 as proposed. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases may push the starting date back, and it's still possible there will be no Pac-12 football at all this fall.

 

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