Three conferences opt back in following Big Ten’s Decision

The PAC-12 became the final of the Power Five conferences to commit to a football season on Sept. 24, announcing a seven-game schedule for the 12 teams to play starting on Nov. 6. The decision comes just a few days after the Big Ten announced their return to play, where the 14 teams will play their eight conference games including a ninth game during conference championship week.

The PAC-12 returning means the college football committee will now have all five conferences to choose from as far as the College Football Playoff and bowl games are concerned. Since the arrival of the College Football Playoff format in 2014 only two PAC-12 teams have made it to the playoff, when Oregon did it in 2014 and Washington did it in 2016. No PAC-12 team has won a national championship since the debut of the playoff format.

Every PAC-12 team will play the five other programs in their division, as well as one non-divisional game prior to the conference championship game. The teams that do not qualify for the title game will play an additional conference game against a squad from the opposite division the same weekend. This specific idea was implemented by the Big Ten for this season as well. 

Outside of the power five conferences, the group of five conferences received word from two of their conferences in the Mid-American Conference as well as the Mountain West Conference that they will reverse course as well and play a football season. While neither conference has a significant chance of sending a team to the College Football Playoff, the return of football for both of those conferences will be good for college football due to the revenue it can bring to the schools as well as the potential bowl games that could be played this year if the college football committee decides to have them. 

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) includes the University at Buffalo and will play a six game football season beginning on Nov. 4. The MAC was the first conference to cancel their football season due to COVID-19 back on Aug. 8, and they became the last conference to announce a football season on Sept. 25. With the MAC’s decision to play a football season, 127 of the 130 FBS teams are now playing some form of a schedule. The only three teams that are not suiting up this fall are UConn, Old Dominion and New Mexico State.

The Mountain West Conference approved their plans to start up a 2020 football season on Sept. 25, with the intent to play an eight-game schedule. The MWC includes 12 teams that will also, like the MAC, compete with the hopes of bowl games later in the season. The MWC season starts on Oct. 24. 

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