Oregon replacing Washington as Southern California’s opponent in Pac-12 title game

Washington will not play in the Pac-12 championship game Friday after the school was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 issues in the football program.

The Huskies were scheduled to play No. 13 Southern California after finishing the regular season with a 3-1 record. However, Washington was unable to play Oregon last week because they had fallen below the threshold of 53 scholarship players to participate. That cancellation allowed the Huskies to secure the Pac-12 North title.

The situation did not improved by Monday, forcing them to drop out of the game.

“Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 Championship,” Washington coach Jimmy Lake said in a statement. “I am so proud of the work our team and staff have put in to position ourselves to attain that goal. 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. There is no path forward to practice or play this week."

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Oregon now will play the Trojans after finishing in a second-place tie with Stanford in the division. The Ducks beat the Cardinal on the opening weekend of conference play.

Friday's conference championship game could have College Football Playoff implications should Clemson, Ohio State and Teas A&M lose to Notre Dame, Northwestern and Tennessee, respectively. In that case, undefeated USC would be in contention for the fourth spot in the national semifinals.

The scheduling change will have a ripple effect on the rest of the Pac-12 scheduled this weekend in crossover games. Colorado, the second-place finisher in the South, was slated to play Oregon in Los Angeles. The other game planned were Washington State at Utah, Stanford at UCLA, and Arizona State at Oregon State.

Contributing: Paul Myerberg

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