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Michael Crow: ‘Probable’ ASU-Arizona football rivalry moves to end of year

Arizona State University president Michael Crow interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Feb. 13, 2020. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Arizona State University president Michael Crow said Monday that he believes the Sun Devils’ planned 2020 football opener against the rival Arizona Wildcats will not take place as scheduled on Sept. 26.

The Pac-12 released its 10-game, conference-only schedules for football on Friday and notably moved two rivalry games traditionally played at the close of the regular season to the beginning of the year.

That was planned by the conference for a reason. The Arizona schools and the USC-UCLA rivalry, which could be postponed due to coronavirus cases in their respective locales, could be flexed to a free Dec. 12 weekend.

Crow said Monday while joining the The Mike Broomhead Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM that he expects the rivalry football game will move to the end of the year.

“If we can’t hold a game on that (Sept. 26) weekend, then it gets moved to the end of the season. Looking at things the way they look right now, that’s more probable than actually playing on that day,” he said.

The Sun Devils and Wildcats also have a shared Oct. 17 bye week.

In Arizona, there have been 179,497 reported COVID-19 cases and 3,779 deaths as of Monday’s updated statistics, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests in Arizona, which indicates how much the virus is spreading, has been declining over recent weeks. The positive rate was 11% for the 38,584 tests given and processed last week, the lowest registered since it was 9% the week starting May 24. When Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired, that rate was down to 5%.

As it is now, ASU is scheduled to open in Tucson on Sept. 26, which would have been the fourth week of the previously planned college football schedule. It would be the earliest Duel in the Desert meeting since 1937.

Both Arizona and ASU have planned to have in-person classes for students by the week of Aug. 24.

“It’s (traditionally been) a battle at the end, which has had fantastic decades of drama and tension and excitement and fun,” Crow said. “With football, we’re just hopeful there will be an opportunity to have the season. We don’t know. That’s the schedule as it is and it’s set up that way for lots of different reasons.”

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