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Pac-12 Championship Football Game
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Pac-12 Releases Game Cancellation Policy, Tiebreakers For 2020 Football Season

A general interior view of Levi's Stadium during the Pac-12 Championship football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Utah Utes at Levi's Stadium on December 6, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The Oregon Ducks won 37-15. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 announced their game cancellation policy along with updated tiebreakers on Monday. The policies are a necessity in the ever-changing landscape of a college football season being played amid a global pandemic.

This is in coordination with the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative’s (SAHWBI) Medical Advisory Committee and Pac-12 medical experts. The standards will apply to all Pac-12 programs in order to provide a healthy and safe environment to conduct football in 2020.

Pac-12 football will begin on Saturday, November 7 with a 7-game conference-only schedule. The Conference Championship game will be the weekend of December 18-19.

Game Cancellation Policy

The conference established minimum thresholds to play a football game of at least 53 scholarship players available to participate. The following minimum number of position scholarship players available to begin a game:

  • Seven offensive linemen
  • One quarterback
  • Four defensive linemen

Each program will provide a complete roster by position to the Conference office prior to the season. The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if they elect to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game would be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

In addition, a game should be rescheduled or declared a no contest in the event of the following COVID-19 related impacts:

  1. Inability to isolate new positive cases within a team or athletic department to quarantine high-risk contacts.
  2. Unavailability or inability to perform testing as provided by the Pac-12 medical guidelines.
  3. Campus-wide or local community transmission rates that are considered unsafe by local public health officials.
  4. Inability to perform adequate contact tracing consistent with governmental requirements.
  5. Local public health officials of the home team state that there is an inability for the hospital infrastructure to accommodate a surge.

Tiebreakers

According to the Pac-12 tiebreaker release, in order for teams to be considered in a divisional tiebreak scenario, teams must play no less than one fewer conference game than the average number of conference games played by all conference teams (rounded up/down at .50). For example, if the average number of conference games played in the 2020 season is 5.25 (value of 5 when rounded down), a team would be eligible to win their division if that team played 4 conference games.

The winner of each division will be determined by the best winning percentage (both divisional and cross-divisional) within the conference. In the event of an unbalanced schedule where there is a tie for the best record in the loss column, head-to-head results will take precedence over winning percentage.

When determining the divisional champions, the following will apply: If any team(s) has not played six conference games (due to not being able to rescheduled a postponed conference game) and any team is within one conference win from the team with the highest conference winning percentage and has an equal number of losses, those teams will be declared tied.

The following procedures will be applied to determine the Pac-12 Championship Game representatives, according to the Conference release:

Two-Team Tie

  1.  Head-to-head results
  2. Record in games played within division
  3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the conference), proceeding through the division
  4. Record in common conference games
  5. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  6. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s Conference opponents
  7. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytices (Team Rating Score metric) following the last weekend of the regular season
  8. Coin toss

Multiple-Team Ties

The following procedures will only be used to eliminate all but two teams, at which point the two-team tiebreaking procedure will be applied:

  1. Head-to-head (best record in games among the tied teams)
  2. Record in games played within the division
  3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the conference), proceeding through the division
  4. Record in common conference games
  5. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  6. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s conference opponents
  7. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of the regular season

Determination Of Championship Game Host

Before the pandemic, the Pac-12 Championship was originally scheduled to take place at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of the Raiders. This season, the home team in the Pac-12 Championship game will be determined by the record in all conference games. In the event of a tie, the following procedures will be applied to determine the home team:

  1. Head-to-head competition, if applicable
  2. Record against the next highest-placed common opponent in the conference (based on recording all games played within the conference) proceeding through the conference
  3. Record in common conference games
  4. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  5. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of the regular season
  6. Coin toss

Tiebreak Procedure To Determine Conference Championship Participants If Average Number Of Conference Games Falls To 4 Or Below (Unbalanced Conference Schedule)

The two teams with the best winning percentage (both divisional and cross-divisional) within the conference will participate in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game (regardless of division affiliation). In order for teams to be considered in a tie-break scenario, teams must play no less than one fewer conference game than the average number of conference games played in the 2020 season is 4.25 (value of 4 when rounded down) a team would be eligible to participate in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game if that team played 3 conference games.

Under the scenario listed above, the participants in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be determined by the best winning percentage within the conference. In the event of an unbalanced schedule where there is a tie for the best record in the loss column, head-to-head results will take precedence over winning percentage.

If the teams remain tied, the following procedures will be applied to determine the Pac-12 Championship Game representatives:

Two-Team Tie

  1. Head-to-Head
  2. Record in common conference games
  3. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  4. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s conference opponents
  5. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of the regular season.
  6. Coin toss

Multiple-Team Ties

The following procedures will only be used to eliminate all but two teams, at which point the two-team tiebreaking procedure (listed above) will be applied:

  1. Head-to-head (best record in games among the tied teams)
  2. Record in common conference games
  3. Team with the highest College Football Playoff (CFP) ranking
  4. Cumulative winning percentage of each tied team’s conference opponents
  5. Highest ranking by SportSource Analytics following the last weekend of the regular season
  6. Coin toss

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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