Report: Pac-12 Targeting Oct. 31 Starting Date for Football

Jake Curtis

The Pac-12 reportedly is targeting Oct. 31 as the starting date for its fall football season, if the conference's university presidents approve a proposal to have a fall football season.

The news comes by way of the San Jose Mercury-News' Jon Wilner, who has been the leading voice on news about Pac-12 football.

The schools' presidents are scheduled to meet Friday, and speculation has been that they will vote -- and probably approve -- the proposal to have a fall football season. 

That approval is subject to the easing of local health restrictions, according to the Mercury-News report, and that could be tricky for Cal considering the tight restrictions imposed by Alameda County and the City of Berkeley.  However, Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement on Wednesday that California guidelines would not prevent the Pac-12 from playing football may provide a precedent for local health organizations.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said during an ESPN interview on Thursday that compeition might begin in late October.'

“Getting the local county approvals as soon as possible would allow our student-athletes and our coaches to start what we think of as normal practice," he told ESPN. "Then the best scenario is six weeks of practice, training camp and starting (games at) the end of October, early November. But that's still subject to county approvals, which we don't have yet."

The proposed Oct. 31 starting date is not guaranteed. 

“It might be a challenge, but many of us would like to play then,” a source told the Mercury-News. “We think it’s possible.”

Nov. 7 is another possible starting date. In fact, 247Sports reported Friday that No. 7 is the target date to start the Pac-12 season.

An Oct. 31 start would put the Pac-12 a week behind the Big Ten, but it still might allow the Pac-12 to play eight conference-only games and have its champion available for selection to the College Football Playoff. The selection of the four teams that will play in the CFP will be announced Sunday, Dec. 20, so the Pac-12 would need to schedule a conference title game by Saturday, Dec. 19.

The number of games Pac-12 teams would play remains uncertain, and three things must happen before the Pac-12 can begin a fall season, according to the report:

--Local health organization must give the go-ahead for teams to practice in pads and play games.

—A training camp schedule must be established. It is generally believed that players would need a two-week ramp-up period, then a four-week training camp to be adequately prepared to play a game. 

--Pac-12 university presidents must approve the proposal.

The new antigen testing that provided hope that the Pac-12 could play football in the fall is expected to be available by the end of the month. Full-contact practices could not start until that testing process begins.

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