After seven months of the great unknown and seeing other conferences like the SEC, ACC, Big 12, and recently the Big Ten jump back into the college football season, the Pac-12 announced the decision to start its college football season on Nov. 7.
The decision came late Thursday afternoon after a collective vote by conference’s presidents and CEOs.
This gives Arizona and the rest of the conference six weeks to get ready for a seven-game season.
The schedule hasn’t been determined at this point but will consist of playing all division opponents and one “crossover” game versus the other division. The seventh game will be in the title game for the two top teams in each division. The rest will get another game added in which they play the corresponding team in the opposite division (No. 2 vs. No. 2, No. 3 vs. No. 3, etc.).
Late Friday morning, the local media had a chance to talk with Arizona football coach Kevin Sumlin and Arizona Athletic Director (AD) Dave Heeke about the conference’s relaunch of the 2020 college football season.
Here’s the top three things coach Sumlin said during the press conference, and much more.
Q: Why is six weeks the right amount of weeks to get ready?
KS: This has been talked about since probably May, right. So, March, April, May, we’ve been talking about different models. And as Dave alluded to, you know, our Medical Advisory Board is also working with coaches, this is across the board for presidents from different discussions with are athletic directors, coaches strength and conditioning, you know, what does that look like? What’s the optimum point from professionals to get guys ready to play in a quality manner, but a safe manner. And so that was a collaboration of a lot of different people that came to this model based on science and that wasn’t just something they snatched out of the air. So yeah, I know that sounds a little bit different. But, you know, the six week model has been floating around for basically the last five months, four months. So you know, that’s everybody’s, has come to that. And I think everybody feels good about it.
Q: Coach, what’s your overall assessment of the roster and the guys that you have and what challenges and what holes do you think there are on the team?
KS: We’ve had some transfers, but we got some young guys that have come in here. Obviously, we have a new defensive staff and some guys to work with. So it’s brought up before just about, you know, defensively where we’re going to be but we’ve got some good young players who’ve come in here some veteran guys that I think have had some, you know, have done some great work. Anthony Pandy is doing a great job and can move inside or outside. So you know, we’ve got to find the depth and the flexibility with maybe some younger players, particularly upfront on defense, some of the issues that we had with our offensive line last year have been solved. Just because they were first your players first your starters, now they’ve got some depth. So, you know that that’s where we’re gonna be. We’ve got to look at where we are defensively up front. Get that solidified with what the two-deep looks like. And on the perimeter offensively, what our receiving corps looks like because at running back, we’ve got a lot of talented guys.
Q: What are your thoughts and hopes for the schedule for the 2020 season?
KS: There’s only so many people you can play, so that’s helped us from a preparation standpoint. like Dave said, we don’t know when we’ll get a schedule. Hopefully, maybe this weekend, maybe not until Monday or so or early next week. But that’s one of the reasons we’ve held off on meetings with with families and with players and get started on Monday. In a one off year, with things like this, you can’t be concerned about that. You can’t. There’s only so many people on there that you can play, who you’re going to play in your division, you get a crossover, so we’ll figure that out.
Below is the full interview with Sumlin and Heeke talking about the upcoming season and much more.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.