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Cal Poly football players break after a morning practice at Doerr Family Field in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs are preparing for a spring 2021 season that kicks off with a Feb. 27 game against Southern Utah. 

Scrub the 11-game 2020 Cal Poly football schedule announced back in September 2019.

In its place, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be a six-game Big Sky Conference slate — three home games and three on the road — for each of the 12 teams competing this spring.

Cal Poly will open its 2021 football schedule with a pair of contests inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, hosting Southern Utah on Feb. 27 and UC Davis in the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe on March 6.

First-year coach Beau Baldwin and his Mustangs hit the road for their third game of the modified season March 13 at Montana.

Cal Poly is scheduled to play its final home game March 27 vs. Northern Arizona before going back out on the road to face Portland State on April 3 and Eastern Washington, where Baldwin coached for nine seasons, on April 10.

“We are extremely excited to prep for a very competitive schedule we have in front of us,” Baldwin said, according to a press release from the school. “It will be fun for everyone in the program and community to open the season at Spanos.”

All 12 teams will have byes on March 20 and April 17 for potential makeup games. The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, reduced to 16 teams this season — 11 automatic qualifiers (conference champions) and five at-large teams — begin April 23-24, ending with the national championship game in Frisco, Texas, on May 15.

Sacramento State, the 13th member of the Big Sky, announced on Oct. 15 that it had elected to opt out of the proposed spring football campaign “due to the truncated season and the risks it could cause to the players' wellbeing.”

All kickoff times will be announced at a later date.

On Aug. 7, the Big Sky Conference announced its postponement of the fall 2020 football season to spring 2021.

Cal Poly was to play Louisiana-Monroe and Cal on the road and San Diego at home for non-conference games last fall, followed by an eight-game Big Sky schedule with home games against Weber State, UC Davis, Idaho State and Northern Arizona and contests on the road vs. Montana, Montana State, Portland State and Sacramento State.

Of the six teams Cal Poly will play in the spring, only Montana qualified for the 2019 FCS playoffs. The Griz reached the quarterfinal round and finished 10-4. Weber State and Sacramento State shared the Big Sky championship in 2019.

Baldwin, who coached Eastern Washington to the 2010 FCS national title, compiled a 58-14 record in Big Sky games and 85-32 overall from 2008-16 as head coach of the Eagles with five Big Sky titles and six FCS playoff berths.

“People will make traveling to EWU a big deal,” said Baldwin, “but ultimately it will be about our players that week, and getting ready to play a very good Eastern team on their home field.”

The Mustangs are 32-32 in their first eight seasons in the Big Sky, capturing the conference crown in 2012.

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