If there is any Pac-12 football this fall, it won’t involve more than a 10-game season. The conference is close to finalizing a structure that would add a 10th conference game for all of its members.
The situation remains fluid, however. For that reason, Californians are unlikely to find many Vegas lines on Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA right now.
The latest on the 2020 Pac-12 football season
Under normal circumstances, Pac-12 teams play nine conference games and then three games against teams from outside of the conference. The Pac-12 has already announced that its teams won’t play any non-conference games this fall.
Just that fact was a bummer for sportsbooks. The non-conference schedule included some high-profile, early-season contests like Oregon vs. Ohio State and Washington vs. Michigan. Those games could have drawn a good deal of handle.
Yet, the latest plan might provide some replacements. The Pac-12’s new approach to this fall could offer some high-profile games within the Pac-12 that wouldn’t have taken place otherwise.
Each team will play the other five teams in its division, then five of the six teams in the other division. The conference hasn’t finalized a new schedule yet, but here are a few possibilities for those extra conference games now:
- Cal vs. UCLA
- Stanford vs. Utah
- UCLA vs. Oregon
- USC vs. Oregon State
Even these plans remain tentative, however. Next week, the NCAA Board of Governors will vote on whether to hold fall championships at all. If the NCAA votes to cancel its cross country and volleyball championships, that could have a major impact on whether FBS football happens this fall.
Futures wagers on California teams still available
For that reason, sportsbooks like MGM are offering limited action on college football right now. Futures markets are essentially limited to the College Football Playoff and the Heisman Trophy, whereas they once included conference championships and team win totals markets.
The top California team in MGM’s College Football Playoff winner market is currently USC at +4000. Stanford sits +15000 in the same market. MGM also has UCLA +20000 and Cal +30000 to win the next CFP.
The odds on any Pac-12 team to win the title at MGM are currently +1200, while the line on any California team is +3500. Whether, when, and how many games the Pac-12 ends up playing will obviously move these lines.
For the time being, the plan is to play 10 conference games. To what degree sportsbooks end up taking action on those contests remains to be seen.