The UCLA football team is set to face crosstown rival USC at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 26 in the first game of the revised 2020 conference-only schedule, the Pac-12 CEO Group announced Friday.
But nobody, least of all Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, knows if this will actually come to pass.
“We are cautiously optimistic sitting here today,” Scott said during a media webinar.
COVID-19 is, of course, the wild card (witness major league baseball.)
“There are elements outside of our control… What’s happening in our communities? What’s happening in our campuses? … What happens when thousands of students come back to our campus? None of us have the answer to that question.”
For now, the Bruins are looking at a 10-game slate starting with matchup against the Trojans. Their schedule also features meetings with the remaining Pac-12 South mates and dates with North foes California, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. Times and television details will be announced in the future.
That Sept. 26 date marks the earliest in the season in the crosstown rivalry since 1945, when the programs met twice due to restrictions during World War II.
Here are the rest of the games scheduled to be played in the Rose Bowl:
- Sept 26: vs. USC
- Oct. 10: vs. Washington State
- Oct. 16: vs. Utah
- Nov. 7: vs. Stanford
- Nov. 28: vs. Arizona
The lack of events scheduled in the Rose Bowl due to the pandemic has devastated the stadium’s revenue and left Bowl officials scrambling to come up with ways to make money.
According to a staff report in a Finance Committee agenda released two weeks ago, the Rose Bowl Operating Committee is expecting a 25 percent reduction in fans and only about 13,000 fans could attend the games due to social distancing guidelines if fans are allowed inside the stadium at all.
That report said there would be a Rose Bowl Game if the season started in the spring. No mention was made of a Rose Bowl Game if a truncated season started in September.
“We are aware of the schedule and hope we are in a position to host college football this fall,” said Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn.
In those documents, officials at the iconic stadium said the stadium needed college football.
“Playing college football this fiscal year is critical for the RBOC,” officials said in the report.
UCLA is one the stadium’s primary tenants and has made millions for the stadium.
However, in recent years the team’s struggles on the field have translated to less revenue.
From 2009 to 2018, the Rose Bowl averaged 76,650 fans up from 70,285 for six home games in 2013.
In 2018, the Bruins averaged 52,528 in 2018 for five home games.