Cal Football: The Golden Bears' New 2020 Schedule and How It's Different

Jeff Faraudo

The newly released Pac-12 football schedule will start a month later than originally planned, and Cal will play three of its first four gams on the road before hosting Stanford in the 123rd Big Game on Oct. 24.

The schedule, adjusted in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was approved Friday by the Pac-12 school presidents and chancellors. As was previously announced, Pac-12 teams will play a 10-game conference-only schedule, each with five games at home and five on the road.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox, unavailable Friday to talk with reporters, offered his thoughts about the new schedule in this statement:

”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. 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.”

Cal's news release Friday offered some context on that situation:

The Pac-12 CEO Group also announced Friday that conference football teams will be allowed to start 20 hours of summer access mandatory activities beginning as early as Aug. 3 followed by the start of training camp as soon as Aug. 17, in both cases subject to allowance by public health officials and medical advice. Under the current Berkeley Public Health Order, Cal football student-athletes may conduct outdoor workouts only and in cohorts of no more than 12.

The Pac-12 championship game, originally scheduled to make its debut at the Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, now will be held (this year only) at a campus site, on ether Friday, Dec, 18 or Saturday, Dec. 19.

Cal opens on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Oregon State. The Bears' home opener is against Washington on Saturday, Oct. 10.

The schedule builds in a bye on Oct. 31 and a flex date on Dec. 12, both for the purposes of potentially rescheduling games that need to be postponed.

Here are five quick impressions of the Bears' new schedule: 

-- For those of you who were looking forward to certain games on certain days, forget about it. The Bears' new schedule does not include a single opponent on the same date as the original schedule. But every game they previously had on the schedule will be played at the same site.

-- The Bears will have to be ready to flourish on the road right out of the gate - three of their first four games are away from home. Road games at Oregon State, USC and Washington State will be sandwiched around their home opener on Oct. 10 against Washington.

-- New to Cal's schedule Arizona, whom the Bears will visit on Nov. 14. Cal already had five home games scheduled, so this trek to Tucson gives the Bears their fifth road contest. Arizona was 4-8 last season and lost its final seven games. While teams did not play in 2019, the Wildcats have won five in a row in the series, albeit all of them by one touchdown or less.

-- The Bears should make out well from the standpoint of weather at road games. They face Oregon State and Washington State early in the schedule before it becomes too wet or cold and their games in the desert at Arizona and Arizona State will be held in November, when the temperatures should be milder than they could be in September.

-- The Big Game, originally set for Nov. 21, has been moved up four weeks to Oct. 24. It will be the second earliest the rivalry game has ever been held, just four days later on the calendar than their Oct. 20 meeting in 2012. Cal ended a nine-game drought in the series last season with its 24-20 victory at Stanford.

Here are the original and new schedules for the Golden Bears:

2020 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE - THEN AND NOW

Saturday, Aug. 29

Originally: at UNLV

Now: No game

Saturday, Sept. 5

Originally: vs. TCU

Now: No game

Saturday, Sept. 12

Originally: vs. Cal Poly

Now: No game

Saturday, Sept. 19

Originally: bye

Now: No game

Saturday, Sept. 26

Originally: vs. Utah

Now: at Oregon State

Saturday, Oct. 3

Originally: at Washington State

Now: at USC

Saturday, Oct. 10

Originally: at USC

Now: vs. Washington

Saturday, Oct. 17

Originally: vs. Oregon

Now: at Washington State

Saturday, Oct 24

Originally: at Oregon State

Now: vs. Stanford

Saturday, Oct. 31

Originally: vs. Washington

Now: bye

Saturday, Nov. 7

Originally: at Arizona State

Now: vs. Oregon

Saturday, Nov. 14

Originally: bye

Now: at Arizona

Saturday, Nov. 21

Originally: vs. Stanford

Now: vs. Utah

Saturday, Nov. 28 

Originally: vs. UCLA (Nov. 27)

Now: at Arizona State

Friday, Dec. 4

Originally: Pac-12 championship game at Las Vegas

Now: UCLA at Cal

Saturday, Dec. 12

Originally: No game

Now: Flex date (for potential rescheduled games)

Friday or Saturday, Dec. 18 or 19

Originally: No game

Now: Pac-12 championship game on campus site

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New Pac-12 composite schedule
Pac-12 composite schedule

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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