Power Five conferences taking different approaches to 2020 football scheduling

The conferences are starting at different points in September and playing a varying amount of games.



Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren speaks about the cancellation of the men's basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Throughout the summer, major conferences around the nation have been changing schedule formats for this fall in an effort to make athletic events possible.

The Ivy League was the first to announce a change to the schedule, canceling fall sports through the end of the year and leaving an option to play football in the spring. The Ivy League was also the first to cancel its sports seasons in March, a move that all other conferences eventually followed.

Here’s how each Power Five conference has changed its schedule:

Big Ten

The Big Ten was the first Power Five conference to announce a change to its fall sports schedule, announcing on July 9 that fall sports teams will only play games within the conference.

The cancellation of non-conference games canceled three Iowa football games, including the annual Cy-Hawk series against Iowa State. It also canceled the Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame matchup that was slated to be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The Big Ten recently announced a 10-game conference schedule for football, with the first games for all teams on Sept. 5 and the Big Ten Championship game on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis. The teams will have two bye weeks for flexibility if games need to be canceled because of the pandemic. The conference also stated that all other fall sports will only have to play 50 percent of normal minimum games this season and that contests will not start until Sept. 5 or later.

Schedules for fall sports other than football have not been released by the Big Ten yet.


On July 10, one day after the Big Ten announced the change to conference-only schedules, the Pac-12 followed suit.

The Pac-12 is playing a 10-game conference schedule, but with only one bye week. The conference will not allow any sports, including football, to start games before Sept. 26. In the case that a game does need to be canceled, teams can make up the game during the bye week or the week after the regular season ends.

The conference also changed the location of the Pac-12 Championship game to a home hosted model, instead of Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Allegiant Stadium will now host the Pac-12 Championship game in 2021 and 2022.

RELATED: New Big Ten football schedule structured to ‘maximize flexibility’


On July 29, the league announced that it would be moving to a conference only schedule, with the exception of one, nonconference football game per team.

Notre Dame, normally an independent league in football, will be adopted by the ACC this season and be eligible for the ACC championship.

The conference will start the season on Sept. 12 and play 11 games in 13 weeks. The top two teams, based on the conference games winning percentage, will play for the ACC Championship on December 12 or 19.


The SEC was one of the later conferences to announce a change to the football schedule. On July 30, the conference revealed that it will be playing a 10-game conference-only season.

Although the ACC is allowing one nonconference game, the conference-only schedule for the SEC canceled traditional SEC vs. ACC matchups, including Georgia vs. Georgia Tech and Clemson vs. South Carolina.

With the announcement of a conference only schedule, the SEC also pushed back the start of training camp for all schools until Aug. 17. The kickoff for all schools in the conference will be on Sept. 26, with the SEC Championship Game being pushed from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19.

Big 12

The Big 12 was the last conference in the Power Five to announce a schedule change, adopting a similar one to the ACC. Teams in the Big 12 will play nine conference and one non-conference game.

The conference has not yet set a schedule or an official start date, but the anticipated start date is mid-to-late September, with the one nonconference game being played before starting conference play. The Big 12 Championship game was pushed back to Dec. 12 or Dec. 19.

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