The Washington Huskies announced this morning that they have paused all team-related football activities after an increase in positive COVID-19 results. The Dawgs have been scheduled to play Oregon on Saturday afternoon in what was shaping up to be a battle for the Pac-12 North title.
Washington has paused all team-related football activities due to an increase in positive COVID tests. Washington scheduled to play Saturday at Oregon— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 9, 2020
There is still the possibility that Washington is able to perform contact tracing following presumably multiple positive tests and determine that they are able to meet Pac-12 minimums along the lines, quarterback, and overall team totals. However, there have been very few instances over the last several months that a team paused all team activities a few days before a game and decided they were actually fine to play.
If the game against Oregon is in fact cancelled then the good news is that it means Washington wins the Pac-12 North as the only one-loss team in the division. The bad news is that they are unlikely to get the chance to play in the Pac-12 championship game. The CDC recently changed quarantine recommendations from 14 days to 7 days with confirmed negative test results. Even if the UW goes with the new CDC recommendations they still would presumably have large portions of the team unable to practice or even leave their homes for the majority of the time leading up to that game.
For those within the fanbase that criticized other Pac-12 schools for allowing COVID-19 outbreaks within their program? This is why that wasn’t advisable. We are attempting to play football as we enter what by all indications is going to be the worst phase of this pandemic. We are just about 2 weeks post-Thanksgiving and seeing the results of everyone that did not heed public health recommendations to keep celebrations within their households. Cases continue to be on the rise in King County. Even with only home games it was a small miracle the Huskies made it as far as they did without substantial transmission within the team.
If the game on Saturday is cancelled as now seems likely then you can guarantee that the rivalry will get kicked up a notch. Oregon fans will claim that Washington is intentionally trying to keep from playing them in order to clinch a wacky default Pac-12 title. Husky fans will correctly call them idiots. And on and on the wheel will continue to spin.
Ultimately, this just sucks. It primarily sucks for the players who were pulled back and forth by the conference from playing to not playing only to finally get to games just as the worst of the pandemic finally hit. We of course hope that all of the players who contract the virus are going to be okay and that they are isolated enough within team circles that they have not led to further exposures to more vulnerable groups within the community. On top of the health concerns it also sucks that Saturday was (technically still is but realistically was) a prime opportunity for Jimmy Lake to make a definitive statement as a head coach. Coming off a loss and multiple first half failures, a decisive win on the road against your rivals would’ve been a rallying cry heading into the offseason.
Instead it looks like we might at best be treated to a consolation bowl game in 3+ weeks. And that’s how quickly 2020 can turn on you.
We’ll continue to update the situation as we learn more about the official status of Saturday’s (and any future) games.