Here’s the situation.
The Oregon Ducks (3-2) and Washington Huskies (3-1) are scheduled to kickoff in the final game of this Pac-12 football “regular season” on Saturday in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
These are the top schools in the Pac-12 North division and the winner will advance to represent the north in the Pac-12 title game on December 18.
But here’s the kicker.
Washington could not play and still win the North.
The Huskies currently have a better win percentage over the Ducks. Washington also only has one loss - to the Stanford Cardinal - last Saturday while Oregon is coming off back-to-back losses to rival Oregon State and Cal.
On Wednesday, the Huskies halted all football-related activities due to a rise in COVID-19 cases within the program.
The question now becomes “if” and not “when” this rivalry will take place on Saturday.
Head coach Mario Cristobal had to this say on Wednesday regarding the game and keeping the Ducks focused during this time:
“We are preparing 100 percent to play the University of Washington. Only status of the game that I’m aware of is that this game is scheduled for Saturday. That everything that we’re doing, we’re going forward. I understand that there’s a pause over there, I get it. I’m very well informed on the protocols that go with that kind of stuff. But all indications and all information is that we’re going forward with this football game.”
The Ducks aren’t focused on the “ifs” during this uncertain situation. Sophomore defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux relies on this advice from his great-grandmother:
"If an ‘if' was a fifth, we’d all be drunk."
So for now, prepping for the Huskies is the only thing on the Ducks' minds.
"We can’t skip that step," Cristobal said. "Not until there’s any other indication that says, ‘Hey, this is going to go in another direction.' We feel like we’re doing the right things, that we’ve taken the right steps. We’re full bore 100 percent focused on a team that honestly for us demands and requires to have our full attention."
Hours after this article was originally published, Chris Fetters of Dawgman247 reported (at 4:50 p.m. (PT)) that Washington currently has 11 active positive cases within the program: