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If Arizona State Can’t Play Utah, Washington Could Face Utes

Dylan Morris #9 of the Washington Huskies runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Husky Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah football program could have a backup plan in place in case Arizona State isn’t able to play the Utes on Sunday, November 29.

The Washington Huskies were scheduled to face their rival Washington State in the Apple Cup on Friday, November 27 in Pullman but the game was canceled on Sunday afternoon. The game was called off because of positive COVID-19 cases in the Washington State program.

Washington is looking for a team to replace the Cougars. They could very well be the backup plan for Utah if the Sun Devils can’t play this week. Arizona State hasn’t played in their last two games against California and Colorado because of a COVID-19 outbreak in their football program. The Pac-12 improvised two weeks ago when UCLA’s game against Utah was canceled and ASU couldn’t play California. The conference matched up the Golden Bears and Bruins in the Rose Bowl on that Sunday morning.

Pac-12 Approves Non-Conference Games

On Thursday, November 19, the Pac-12 announced that teams in the conference can schedule a non-conference opponent if their game is canceled because the opposing team was impacted by COVID-19.

In order to have that game scheduled, the non-conference foe would need to agree to the following criteria.

  • “All Pac-12 testing and related protocols must be adhered to by the non-conference opponent;
  • The non-conference game will in all cases be a home game for the Pac-12 team, broadcast by a Pac-12 television partner; and
  • If a Pac-12 opponent becomes available by the end of day Thursday in any given week, the Conference game must be played in lieu of any non-conference game.”

Washington will try to schedule a game against a team outside of the Pac-12 to replace the Washington State game. But that last line is what could prevent many teams from facing a Pac-12 team. If Washington gets a non-conference game scheduled but Arizona State becomes unable to play the Utes, the Conference would pair Utah and Washington.

Who Would Host Game If Utah/Washington Happens?

It was easy for the Pac-12 to determine who would be the home team when UCLA and Cal were matched up two weeks ago because UCLA was supposed to host Utah and Cal was scheduled to go to Tempe, Arizona. Cal just replaced Utah in the Rose Bowl and the Bears even stayed at the same hotel that Utah was supposed to stay at.

In this case, both Utah and Washington are scheduled to be on the road this week. Something the Pac-12 could look at if this scenario becomes a reality is that UW has played both of their two games this season at home. The Utes have played one game and it was at home but had one of their games at Rice-Eccles Stadium canceled (Arizona).

Whether the Pac-12 looks at that perspective is anyone’s guess.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.