Cal Football: Justin Wilcox Recalls Wednesdays at Boise But That Seems Unlikely in 2020

With no byes on the schedule, makeup games probably will be Sunday/Monday
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Cal coach Justin Wilcox expressed support for the plan unveiled by the Pac-12 Conference this week relating to roster size and postponement of games if teams are hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it was well thought out,” he said.

Among the protocols the Pac-12 announced are a minimum roster size of 53 scholarship players to play a game, including at least one scholarship quarterback, seven offensive linemen and four defensive linemen.

Wilcox also said he believes teams will safely navigate through the seven-game schedule that begins on Nov. 7. The Bears open their season that day at home against Washington.

“I think a lot of people have put a lot of time and energy into it,” he said. “To say it’s going to go perfectly, I don’t know that. I don’t think anybody does. I think we’re all doing the best we can with the protocols we have in place. We’ve got to be ready to adjust, if needed.”

Because there are no bye weeks in the short schedule, it’s unclear on which days teams might be able to play rescheduled games. The Pac-12 offered no details on that question in its news release this week.

The assumption is those games would played on a Sunday or Monday because any other day of the week would result in a dangerously short recovery and prep for the following game.

“I know they’re trying to be as flexible as possible to maximize the number of games we could play safely,” Wilcox said. “I don’t know that anything would be off the table.”

In fact, Wilcox referred to his time at Boise State, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2006 through 2009.

“One year we played on every day of the week except Monday night or something like that,” he recalled. “We had a lot of those games on those days. Sometimes you’d have a long week or sometimes you’d have a really short week. It’s been done.”

In fact, during those four seasons, Boise played three regular-season games on Wednesdays, five on Thursdays, nine on Fridays and three on Sundays. Their other regular-season games all were played on Saturdays.

The key to those non-traditional regular-season matchups is that in every instance Boise State always had at least six days on either side of the game. The three Wednesday games were sandwiched within byes each time.

For the Pac-12 this season, there are no bye weeks to create space in the schedule, so it’s hard to imagine makeup games being played at any time but on the Sunday or Monday immediately following the original Saturday date.

“We’ll be ready to adjust accordingly when the time comes,” Wilcox said, “but to sit here and try and map out the season I think would be really difficult.”

By the way, Boise was a combined 19-1 in those non-Saturday assignments, losing only a Friday road game after traveling to Hawaii to close the 2007 regular season. Of course, the Broncos didn’t lose much at all those years, compiling a record of 49-4 with three unbeaten regular seasons.

Wilcox also has experience with Monday and Tuesday games at Boise — both times in the postseason.

The Monday game was a memorable one — the Broncos’ 43-42 overtime victory against No. 7 Oklahoma in the Jan. 1, 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Boise finished that 2006 season at 13-0.

Boise also played one Tuesday game, losing 17-16 to TCU in the 2008 Pointsettia Bowl.

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

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