Kickoff between the Oregon Ducks (3-2) and Washington Huskies (3-1) on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon is no more.
After the Huskies paused all football-related activities on Wednesday due to a rise in COVID cases within the program, the game status for Saturday was put in question.
Now, the teams and Pac-12 football fans have that answer. One of the most heated rivalries in all of the conference will not be played on Saturday.
"After consultation with Washington, the Pac-12 Conference announced the game involving Washington at Oregon scheduled for Saturday, December 12 has been cancelled," the Pac-12 said in a statement. "This decision was made under the Pac-12’s football game cancellation policy due to Washington not having the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game due to a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols. Under Conference policy, the game will be declared a no contest.
Per the Seattle Times: "On Wednesday evening, UW reported 11 active positive COVID-19 within its athletics department — six more than a week ago. However, a source also indicated not all 11 cases can be traced to the football program. It’s university policy not to specify how many cases are tied to each team."
The winner of this game would have advanced to the Pac-12 title game to represent the North division. However, because Washington had a higher win percentage this season, if this game didn’t happen, the Huskies would win the North. At least, that's the initial understanding.
If that's confirmed, it's still up in the air as to whether or not Washington will be cleared to play in the title game on Dec. 18.
Oregon can still try and schedule another opponent, either within the conference or a non-conference foe if no other Pac-12 teams are open by the end of Thursday.
Conspiracy theory or not (we’ll get to that soon), this game means so much more than just another game for these two schools. Oregon’s overtime thrilling win over Washington in 2018 is what got then-top high school prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux to commit to the Ducks.
There is much more at stake than just the outcome of this rivalry.
But now we’ll have to wait until 2021 for another heated battle on the football field.