Pac-12 Might Add More Marquee Neutral Site Nonconference Games
Neutral site nonconference games have been a "staple of the Southeast region for years and such marquee matchups could be coming to the Pac-12 footprint in the near future," according to James Crepea of the Portland OREGONIAN. The under-construction Inglewood stadium is "interested," and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas already plans to host Arizona-BYU to open the '21 season. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, "It’s been a priority for us to create more of those opportunities, to support more opportunities of those (games) for our schools, particularly closer to home." This Saturday, Oregon opens the season against Auburn in the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Oregon previously played LSU in Dallas in '11, and USC is scheduled to face Alabama at AT&T Stadium to open the '20 season. Oregon is also scheduled to play Georgia in the '22 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosted Washington and Auburn to open the '18 season (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/29).
SEC COUNTRY: The AP's Steve Megaree noted Alabama meets Duke in Atlanta on Saturday and South Carolina plays UNC at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. But these neutral-site showdowns "might not be so common several years from now." More of them "eventually could take place on campuses instead of NFL stadiums." SEC schools are "upgrading future schedules by adding noteworthy home-and-home nonconference series, though some of those games are a decade away from happening." The SEC has "led all conferences in average attendance every year" since '98, but it is "not immune to recent industry-wide struggles to attract spectators." ADs have said that fans "want stronger home schedules," and programs "often make more money from a home game than a neutral-site contest." But Peach Bowl President & CEO Gary Stokan, who oversees the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, "believes neutral-site games will keep thriving even as more teams add home-and-home series." Mercedes-Benz Stadium will "host eight Chick-fil-A regular-season matchups" from '20-24, including three next season (AP, 8/28).
NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE: Kansas State AD Gene Taylor said that they are "exploring the possibility of moving at least one of their future home games to a neutral venue," most likely Arrowhead Stadium or AT&T Stadium. Taylor: "We have had some interest and a couple stadiums that have asked us to consider it.” But he "cautioned a deal was far from imminent." In Wichita, Kellis Robinett notes the "most likely future K-State football game that could receive a venue switch seems to be Stanford" in '21. Not only is it an "appealing matchup for a neutral-site game between Big 12 and Pac-12 opponents, but the Wildcats currently have eight home games" slated for the '21 season. Taylor's comments also came one day after Missouri agreed to move their '20 regular-season home finale against Arkansas, as well as another future game, to Arrowhead Stadium (WICHITA EAGLE, 8/29).