Big 12 announces 10-game football schedule for 2020, potential for non-conference game

The Big 12 announced its plans for a 10-game schedule for the upcoming college football season, but with one significant difference to the Southeastern Conference’s plan.

The layout is described as a “9+1” schedule, with each team set with nine conference games and two bye dates. The plan leaves the opening for one non-conference game for each school that must be completed before the start of conference play on Sept. 26, as well as a third possible bye week.

The conference’s Board of Directors voted Tuesday to approve plans to play fall sports at member schools.

“Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a news release.

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The SEC also announced a 10-game schedule, but exclusively with conference games. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced there would be no 2020 season, and several non Power 5 conferences have also announced plans to cancel the season.

The Big 12 didn’t announce specifics regarding stadium capacities, but noted that it would be at the discretion of each school and “in accordance with local and/or state health ordinances.”

Of the games lost with the new 2020 schedules, one of the most significant is the rematch of the Texas Longhorns with LSU at Tiger Stadium, originally set for Sept. 12. Currently the Longhorns are set to open their schedule in-state with Texas Tech on Sept. 26 and TCU.

It’s unknown if any Louisiana schools will take part in non-conference games with Big 12 schools. The SEC remains committed to its 10-game, league-only season, and LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in an interview this week that the program is still preparing as if those games will happen.

“The easiest thing to do right now is say no,” Orgeron told WNXX-FM, 104.5’s “Off the Bench” on Tuesday. “But we want to compete for our players and find out what’s best for them. Now, at the end, if our players can’t play, I’m not going to put them in harm’s way and they know that.”

Coronavirus precautions for the Big 12 will include three tests per week for “high contact” sports such as football, volleyball and soccer, and will require any non-conference opponents to adhere to similar protocols.

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But the conference’s announcement warned that plans could change, and quickly, should the circumstances create an unsafe environments for players, coaches and others. 

“If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course,” Bowlsby said in the release.

Check back for updates. 

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