In a move that unfortunately can't be viewed as a surprise the Washington Huskies announced they will not be able to take place in the Pac-12 championship game due to roster limitations from positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing.
It became official last Thursday that UW would be forced to cancel Saturday's rivalry tilt against Oregon. Given that King County still mandates a 14-day quarantine period it would have been surprising if cases that seemingly started popping up last Tuesday/Wednesday allowed the team to play 10 or fewer days later. Even if Washington had the appropriate number of scholarship players exactly by this Friday afternoon presumably any of them would've been playing with no practice in over a week. The Huskies said they not only do not have the minimum 53 scholarship players available but also are lacking at one of the key position groups (QB, OL, or DL). That last component is new since last week’s announcement.
It remains to be seen whether the Huskies will be able to play any other games this season. There has been talk of a potential Apple Cup in a subsequent week but there are a lot of steps that would need to happen for that to work. If neither school ends up in a bowl game it would increase the number of weekends that could be possible. The West Coast has seen a number of bowl game cancelations and the Pac-12 only has 4 guaranteed spots. It seems like UW, USC, Oregon, and Colorado would be in the best shape for those bids but this is still 2020 for another few weeks so the only guarantee is that things will change drastically from what we expect.
It will be painful to see Oregon taking UW's place in the title game on Friday night. My biggest regret though is that a player like Elijah Molden who came back this season and helped win the North doesn't get a chance to secure another Pac-12 title in his final season.
Jimmy Lake stated last Wednesday that nearly all Huskies had been asymptomatic to this point. Let's hope any subsequent cases that may have come up since then have also resulted in the players being okay.
Washington has typically given updates about the numbers of cases in their program on Wednesday afternoons. Last week there were 11 total cases across UW athletics but that number should be higher this week. How much higher will likely tell us how feasible a make-up game the following week could be and/or if the team will have enough players available for a potential bowl game.
Wow. Jimmy Lake says they have "zero offensive linemen available to play."— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) December 14, 2020
Jimmy Lake said, from what he understands, UW's next game will be a bowl game. Doesn't sound like there are immediate plans for an impromptu Apple Cup.— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) December 14, 2020