USC football non-conference schedule canceled as Pac-12 goes conference-only

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Pac-12 officially announced a conference-only schedule, canceling USC football’s non-conference slate.

USC football’s non-conference schedule is no more.

The Pac-12 officially announced their decision to move to a conference-only schedule on Friday, following the lead of the Big Ten who the same plan on Thursday.

The ACC, SEC and Big 12 have yet to announce plans for their 2020 seasons.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “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.”

The conference is also delaying the start of mandatory workouts until health and safety indicators are met.

USC football’s rivalry series with Notre Dame is still up in the air.

USC’s season opener against Alabama is canceled which may be a relief to some Trojan fans. There will be no more fears of a 2016 repeat with the Crimson Tide blasting USC mercilessly.

Of course, it also means Clay Helton and his new staff won’t have the opportunity to prove their worth against Nick Saban’s squad. An unexpected win over Alabama would be a much-needed feather in Helton’s cap.

In a season where USC plays only Pac-12 games, the Trojans could win the conference title and still be no closer to certainty around Helton’s future.

The cancelation of the non-conference slate could have historic implications as well.

Though few will mourn the loss of a game against New Mexico (except the Mountain West conference who will have to deal with major financial implications), the Trojans’ annual rivalry game against Notre Dame is a huge worry.

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USC was supposed to face off with Notre Dame on Nov. 28 to end the regular season. That game is now canceled and any hopes of keeping the 73-year streak of games between the two intact would require coming to an agreement outside of the conference plan.

The Pac-12 said it has developed several plans for the 2020 season which will be detailed no later than July 31.

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