Arizona Officially Cancels Non-Conference Game With Texas Tech
Thursday, the Big 10 officially canceled non-conference games for their fall sports, deciding to only play their conference opponents. With that breaking news, the Pac 12 whispers started immediately, and by Friday afternoon, the news had been confirmed.
That's now two of the Power 5 conferences to cancel the non-conference games in as many days. It's widely regarded that the SEC will do everything in their power to not cancel games. The next most likely to play 12 games would be the Big 12, with the ACC a distant third.
Those conferences now have to contend with canceled games with the Pac 12 and Big 10. Iowa State will miss out on playing Iowa, an interstate rivalry where the players travel by bus to the game. Texas Tech also loses out on a home game with Pac 12 member Arizona unable to fulfill their end of a scheduled home and home series.
Texas Tech lost to Arizona last year.
Texas Tech Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt provided the following statement Friday evening following the Pac-12 Conference’s decision to play only conference football games this fall:
“I was notified this afternoon by Arizona Athletics Director, Dave Heeke, that the Pac-12 Conference will play only conference football games this fall. While we are disappointed, we understand the challenges the upcoming football season will present for all of us. We will continue to evaluate our options to play a complete football schedule.”
The statement makes it seem like Hocutt will be trying to replace the matchup on the schedule. In a dream world, you would try to play matchmaker with another school that had to cancel with either a Pac 12 team or a Big 10 team. Texas A&M is one of those schools, after losing a game against Colorado.
A Texas Tech-A&M game would be a nightmare to schedule though, mostly because the Aggies wouldn't come to Lubbock, and it's safe to assume Hocutt would want to keep the game in Lubbock, even if there are very few fans in attendance.
So, who would come to Lubbock on short notice? Let's look at a few contenders.
BYU, San Diego State, Wyoming and Utah State all canceled week three games with Pac 12 opponents. Of the four, Utah State jumps off the page first. Could Matt Wells call in a few favors from his alma mater and pull that off? The other glaring name is Wyoming. Yes, Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming was originally on the 2020 schedule before the game in Lubbock got pushed to 2028.
The Big Ten cancellations yield a much more robust field of contenders. Toledo, Arkansas State, North Dakota State, Appalachian State, Bowling Green, and Ball State would all jump at the chance to keep a Power 5 opponent on their schedule. North Dakota State is unlikely because they are an FCS team, and generally an FCS school won't play a Power 5 school without a hefty check connected to the game.
Toledo and Appalachian State would be competitive games for Texas Tech, while Arkansas State provides the best geographical fit for the Red Raiders.
Of all the options, Utah State, Wyoming and Arkansas State seem the most logical.