Pac-12 opting for league-only games, scratching the Alabama-USC matchup

Auburn photo by Todd Van Emst / Auburn receiver Seth Williams caught the winning touchdown pass in the Tigers' thrilling 27-21 season-opening victory over Oregon last year at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but there will be no football matchups between the SEC and the Pac-12 this year.

The Pac-12 Conference announced Friday evening that a league-only schedule will be implemented in football this season due to coronavirus concerns.

That eliminates a pair of matchups involving Southeastern Conference teams, most notably the Sept. 5 showdown between Alabama and Southern California at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Texas A&M had been scheduled to host Colorado on Sept. 19.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a release. "Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities."

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne responded to the news with a statement that read: "We will do our best to adjust. What that looks like is to be determined."

The decision by the Pac-12 comes a day after the Big Ten revealed it would use a 10-game, conference-only football schedule this season. There were no SEC-Big Ten football meetings scheduled this year.

Details of the Pac-12's conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.

The conference-only format within the Pac-12 also applies for men's and women's soccer and for women's volleyball. Pac-12 student-athletes who choose not to participate during the upcoming academic year because of safety reasons will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing on their respective teams.

"Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront," University of Oregon president Michael Schill said.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.