From Jon Wilner’s newsletter:
Any Day Now (or not)
It’s the question the Hotline is asked more often than any other these days:
When will the Pac-12 Networks be on DirecTV?
Nope, not that one (although it still comes up).
When will Larry Scott get fired?
Another constant, but not No. 1 at the moment.
When will the schedule be released?
It’s 2020, and the 2020 Pac-12 football schedule remains a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in administrative processes.
We’re here to help lend clarity (as best we can) to a source of growing frustration for Pac-12 fans.
Because the conference is a tad late.
It typically announces the schedule in November or December of the previous year, and the 2020 schedules for other Power Five conferences have been set for months, if not years (in the Big Ten’s case).
Let’s start with the bottom line:
There isn’t a scheduled date for the schedule release, according to the conference.
The process is, well, fluid.
“Several models have been developed and are under review, to be voted on by the athletic directors,’’ said Dave Hirsch, vice president for communications.
Our expectation — that is, the Hotline’s expectation — is that the schedule will be finalized and made public within two weeks.
That’s an educated guess based on our understanding of the process, which generally follows these steps:
The non-conference dates are, of course, set years ahead.
The special-date games (i.e., the Thursday and Friday matchups) are selected by ESPN and Fox approximately one year in advance.
Sometime in the late summer or fall, the Pac-12 sends what amounts to a giant grid, with the non-conference and special-date games already filled in, to a Denver-based scheduling company.
Eventually, the company spits out several models for the athletic directors and coaches to review.
After each model is reviewed, the ADs vote: Any schedule that receives a majority (seven) is adopted.
If none of the models receives a majority, the conference takes the top two and resends them to the ADs for a second round of voting.
My understanding is that the voting process is underway now.
If it’s clean, we could see the schedule in the next week.
If a re-vote is required, it might be several more weeks.
We noted above that the schedule release is late this year, but not unprecedentedly so:
The 2017 edition wasn’t unveiled until Jan. 18 of that year — just seven-and-a-half months before the season.
If we learn more about the current situation, we’ll pass it along.
And as always, fans should expect the kickoff times for games in the first three weeks to be announced in the spring. — Jon Wilner