If there indeed is a college football season in 2020, it is currently unclear who Utah State will play in its opener.
The Mountain West announced its revised plans for fall sports on Wednesday and every football team in the conference will be allowed to play two non-conference opponents, but none before the week ending Sept. 26. That means the Aggies will not be hosting Southern Utah on Saturday, Sept. 12, like it was originally scheduled.
USU lost two of its opponents last month when the Pac-12 announced it would be instituting a conference-only schedule. The Aggies were set to kick off their ’20 campaign with a home game against Washington State on Sept. 3, and then square off against Washington on the road on Sept. 19.
The original schedule had the Aggies taking a bye week on the weekend of Sept. 26, so that is a very likely possibility for them to reschedule a new season opener. If that doesn’t happen, USU’s season opener will surely place take in Provo on Friday, Oct. 2, against rival BYU.
Wednesday’s decision by the Mountain West Board of Directors will not affect the remainder of USU’s schedule. The Aggies’ conference schedule will proceed as follows: at home against San Diego State on Oct. 10; at Boise State on Oct. 17; vs. New Mexico on Oct. 24; at Nevada on Oct. 31; at Wyoming on Nov. 7; vs. Fresno State on Nov. 14; at Colorado State on Nov. 21; vs. Air Force on Nov. 28.
The Mountain West championship game was initially slated to take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, but take could be changed to Dec. 12 or Dec. 19, the league announced Wednesday.
As far as the other Mountain West fall sports are concerned, they will be limited to conference-only play — at least in volleyball and women’s soccer. The league is still reviewing how it will proceed with men’s and women’s cross country.
In past years the Mountain West has held conference tournaments for soccer and volleyball, but those were canceled earlier this summer.
Additionally, the MW announced Wednesday that all fall competition for men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, baseball and swimming/diving has been axed.
“The health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, staff and overall communities remain the first and foremost priority,” said Dr. Mary Papazian, the chair of the league’s Board of Directors, in a press release. “An incredible amount of thought and discussion from multiple perspectives went into making this decision. The modified fall structure supports the measures being taken by each of our institutions to ensure responsible return to play. We will continue to gather the best medical information available and lean on advice from public health professionals, as well as state and local officials, as we make decisions and necessary adjustments in the future.”
USU FALL CAMP
The Aggies were slated to start fall camp on Tuesday, but it was been pushed back. A decision on when fall camp will start will likely be made Thursday, a spokesman for the athletics department told The Herald Journal.
The MAC is the only league at the FBS level that hasn’t announced plans for a revised football schedule.
In addition to the Pac-12, the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference (SEC) will play conference-only schedules. The Pac-12 has already released its revised schedule and members will play in 10 games — same with the Big Ten and SEC.
Conference USA, the Sun Belt Conference and American Athletic Conference (AAC) are allowing their teams to play up to four non-league games. All three of these conferences will have their members take the field in eight league contests.
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 12 are allowing their institutions to play in one non-conference game. Each ACC program will face 10 conference opponents, while every Big 12 program will play nine league games.
The University of Connecticut became the first FBS football program to elect to cancel its season. This was announced Wednesday.
OTHER NCAA DECISIONS
The NCAA Board of Directors made a few rulings Wednesday. Here are some of the most pressing ones:
• “All Student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. If a college athlete chooses to opt out, that individual’s athletics scholarship commitment must be honored by the college or university.”
• The Board of Directors ruled “that each division would determine its ability to conduct fall championships,” and a final decision would be made no later than Aug. 21. Later in the day, the NCAA announced there would be no fall championships for athletes who compete at the Division II and Division III levels.
Last month the NJCAA Board of Regents came to the conclusion to shift traditional fall sports such as football and men’s and women’s soccer to the spring.
• If 50 percent “or more of eligible teams in a particular sport in a division cancel their fall season, there will be no fall NCAA championship in that sport in that division.” Six of the 13 FCS conferences have already announced they won’t be playing football in ’20. If more dominoes fall, it would prevent USU from scheduling any FCS opponent — SUU included — this season.
OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS
The College Football Playoff announced its revised changes Wednesday. The CFP selection committee will now release its final rankings on Dec. 20 because some conference championship games have already been moved to a later date.
The semifinals are still tentatively scheduled for Jan. 1, with the championship game taking place on Jan. 11 in Miami.