The Pac-12 soccer season will start later and be a little shorter this season.
Multiple sources say the 2020 campaign (which will take place entirely in 2021) will consist of 16 games—four non-conference matches plus a dozen Pac-12 matches.
It will begin no sooner than Feb. 3, per NCAA rules. It was originally scheduled to begin in August but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, Pac-12 soccer teams play 11 league games—a round robin—and anywhere from seven to nine non-conference games.
To arrive at 12 league games, each Pac-12 team will face its conference rival twice. (In that case, it’s worth noting that Arizona has a four-game winning streak vs. ASU dating back to 2016. The Sun Devils have been one of the weaker teams in the conference lately.)
Every game, Pac-12 or not, will be even more critical than usual this season.
The NCAA Tournament field is being condensed from 64 teams to 48 teams, meaning there will be fewer at-large bids for the Pac-12 and other major conferences.
As of now, 29 of the 48 teams in the field will be automatic qualifiers from each Division I conference. That number would have been 31, but the Ivy League and Big West already announced that they will not be participating this spring.
Unlike the Big 12, ACC and SEC, the Pac-12 did not have a fall soccer season in 2020. When Arizona takes the field in February, it will mark its first official game since Nov. 22, 2019 when it lost to Penn State in the Round of 32.
The Wildcats had a spring match vs. UTEP in February as well as a Blue-White scrimmage this November.
Arizona has reached the NCAA Tournament in four straight seasons and returns leading scorers Jada Talley and Jill Aguilera, but otherwise is a young team that has to replace five starters and break in 13 freshmen.
The Wildcats report for training on Jan. 3.