Following the Big Ten’s lead, the Pac-12 Conference announced that all fall sports for the 2020 season would be conference-only games.
Those announcements were a big letdown for players and fans as both conferences had a bunch of marquee non-conference matchups lined up, with the likes of Oregon-Ohio State, USC-Alabama, Washington-Michigan, USC-Notre Dame as well as the annual rivalry game between Utah and BYU.
It remains to be seen if those games will be rescheduled in the future or just canceled altogether. As part of the announcement, the Pac-12 added that it will release an updated schedule for the 2020 season by the end of the month.
Here’s a look at the 10 biggest Pac-12 non-conference games that will be missed.
Pac-12 Football: Top 10 Canceled Games in 2020
1. Oregon vs. Ohio State (Sept. 12)
This was setting up to be a top 10-matchup between both teams.
The showdown between the Ducks and Buckeyes was arguably the top non-conference matchup of the season. The Buckeyes were going to be playing in Autzen Stadium for the first time since 1967, while the Ducks were going to return the visit with a game in Columbus in 2021.
The game was also going to feature All-American left tackle Penei Sewell going up against OSU’s pass rush. Sewell is expected to be a top-3 draft pick next year, and the showdown was a chance for many to see just how good he is.
On the bright side, the Ducks are probably fortunate as Ohio State is 9-0 against Oregon, with six wins in Columbus and the last two wins taking place in the 2010 Rose Bowl and the National Championship Game in 2015.
2. USC vs. Alabama (Sept. 5)
While USC is still trying to get back to its dominant ways, this matchup was still going to feature two of college football’s most storied programs. Unfortunately, Alabama and USC do not have any other matchups scheduled in the future and so far, there has not been any plans to reschedule it at another date in the future.
The Crimson tide lead the overall series 6-2, including the last meeting at Cowboys Stadium in which Alabama crushed the Trojans 52-6. This year’s meeting was among the most anticipated nonconference games with the return of USC star quarterback Kedon Slovis and a team that is expected to win the Pac-12 South division.
3. USC vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 28)
USC and Notre Dame have played 91 times. In fact, you have to go back to 1945 (World War II) to find the last time the Fighting Irish and the Trojans didn’t meet in the regular season.
The Irish were expected to finish the season against at USC on Nov. 28. The showdown almost always had national title and Heisman Trophy implications.
4. Utah vs. BYU (Sept. 3)
The Holy War between Utah and BYU is arguably one of the most underestimated rivalries in the country. And although the rivalry has been one-sided over the past decade, the games have usually been very close, with most games coming down to the final minute/play. The intrigue was also building with players on both sides transferring to each of the rival schools.
Both teams will meet in Provo next year, before taking a break in 2022-23 as the Utes take on Florida in a home-and-home series. The Holy War will then resume in 2024 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
5. Washington vs. Michigan (Sept. 5)
Did the Rose Bowl come early?
Seems like it with both of these teams playing in September. The opening week showdown was going to provide a good test for both teams and a big boost to the conference of the team that won. Washington was looking to reload on offense, while Michigan was looking to bounce back from its 9-4 season last year.
6. Stanford-Notre Dame (Oct. 10)
The first meeting between Notre Dame and Stanford was in the Rose Bowl in 1925. Notre Dame has won the last two meetings, the first time since 2007-08.
Both teams are expected to play next year on Nov. 27, 2021 in Stanford. The Fighting Irish currently lead the all-time series 21-12.
7. Arizona State vs. BYU (Sept. 19)
Despite losing its two most productive offensive stars – RB Eno Benjamin and WR Brandon Aiyuk who are both in the NFL – the Sun Devils are not a team to be slept on with sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels looking to become the next great Pac-12 quarterback.
Meanwhile, BYU was coming in with a senior-laden team and always pulls off an upset or two against Power-5 programs. If things went both teams’ way to start the season, this game would have been a top 25 showdown between both programs.
Arizona State leads the all time series 20-7, however, BYU has won the past two meetings (1997, 1998).
8. Oregon vs. North Dakota State (Sept. 5)
I know what you’re probably thinking. “North Dakota state, are you kidding me.” But the game does have has intrigue as it pitted the nation’s top FCS team against one of the best FBS teams. Who doesn’t love a potential David vs. Goliath story.
Additionally, the Bison feature one of the top draft prospects at quarterback for 2021 in Trey Lance. The quarterback matchup against Oregon’s standout defense would’ve been a great way to start 2020. Remember, North Dakota State is no pushover and also produced Carson Wentz, who went on to become the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
9. Oregon State at Oklahoma State (Sept. 3)
It’s a shame we didn’t get round two of this matchup. These two teams combined for 88 total points and 1,003 yards in last year’s 52-36 win by Oklahoma State. Another high-scoring matchup was likely in order.
10. Colorado at Colorado State (Sept. 5)
Who doesn’t love rivalry games?
Colorado State was looking to end a five-game losing streak to the Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Showdown featured Colorado State junior quarterback Patrick O’Brien, a transfer from Nebraska against a Buffaloes team that lost a bunch of playmakers, including star quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Lavisks Shenault Jr., a second round pick and who now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This was arguably the best year for the Rams to end the streak, but that is all going to have to wait until next year it seems.
Other Non-Conference Games Canceled
TCU at California (Sept. 5)
UCLA at Hawaii (Sept. 5)
UCLA at San Diego State (Sept. 12)
Houston at Washington State (Sept. 12)
Colorado at Texas A&M (Sept. 19)
Utah at Wyoming (Sept. 19)
Arizona at Texas Tech (Sept. 19)
BYU at Stanford (Nov. 28)