It’s a great day to be a Duck.
But if you’re a Washington Husky, news that your football team has withdrawn from the Pac-12 Championship game due to lingering COVID-19 issues is well, not ideal.
UW head coach Jimmy Lake said Monday, Washington did not have the minimum 53 scholarship players or the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes at a position group due to positives and contact tracing for Friday’s game vs. Pac-12 South champion USC.
"Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 Championship. I am so proud of the work our team and staff have put in to position ourselves to attain that goal," Lake said. "Unfortunately, the virus is in our footprint. We have not been able to resume football activities and currently the entirety of one of our key position groups, deemed a critical position group by the Pac-12, is in quarantine.
The Huskies made the decision to withdraw from the championship game because not even a single offensive lineman could take the field.
"Our offensive line is completely gone until the following week,” Lake said. “We cannot play football. We couldn't play last week."
It’s been a wild week for Washington, who had to cancel its game against Oregon (3-2) due to a rise in COVID-19 cases which resulted in the Huskies pausing practice last week. Washington (3-1) was named Pac-12 North champion by virtue of having a better winning percentage than Oregon.
It was an unprecedented moment for Duck fans, who were ripped of their chance of watching Oregon beat rival Washington and rightfully claim the Pac-12 North crown.
A silver lining is now the Ducks will get a shot to continue their reign as Pac-12 champions.
But if Oregon beats USC in the Pac-12 championship, will Husky fans call the Ducks Pac-12 champions? Lake says they should.
"They would be the Pac-12 champion,” Lake said. “They're in the championship game...
While Oregon prepares for No. 13 USC on Friday at 5:00 p.m. in Los Angeles, Washington turns its focus to getting players healthy. After that, the Huskies will reevaluate postseason plans.
"Our focus now is getting everyone healthy, so we can resume football activities and prepare for a possible bowl game,” Lake said.