UW Huskies win Pac-12 North, will face USC in championship game
After compiling a 3-1 record along with two cancelations, the UW Huskies were declared the winners of the Pac-12 North division and will take on the USC Trojans on Friday, Dec. 18, the conference announced Saturday evening.
“In a football season that has thrown unprecedented challenges and adversity at our football teams and student-athletes, USC and Washington have performed at the highest levels and earned their places in the 2020 Pac-12 Football Championship Game as the Pac-12 South and North Champions,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. The game will take place at USC.
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) December 13, 2020
The UW Huskies are in their first season with Jimmy Lake as head coach. Lake had previously served as the team’s co-defensive coordinator and as a defensive backs coach under former head coach Chris Petersen. It is the third time the Huskies have won the Pac-12 North in the last five years. The previous two times, UW has won the Pac-12 Championship Game by beating Colorado in 2016 and Utah in 2018.
The season has been an interesting one to say the least for the UW Huskies and the Pac-12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Huskies were initially set to start the year in September against the Michigan Wolverines for the start a highly-touted series. That game got scrapped when the Big-10 announced that the conference would not be playing non-conference teams. The Pac-12 later took a similar approach after initially deciding not to play in 2020 at all and instead push the season back to the start of 2021.
The Pac-12 announced a six-game schedule for each team, with a seventh game scheduled for the week of the Pac-12 Championship Game, dependent on who made the title game. With the news that the UW Huskies will face USC, there will officially be no Apple Cup rivalry game against the WSU Cougars or a rivalry game against the Oregon Ducks.
The Cougars had positive COVID-19 tests that caused the cancelation of the Apple Cup and against Stanford. The Huskies missed out on their season opener against California due to positive tests in the Golden Bears program. Then this past week, positive tests caused the UW Huskies’ matchup with Oregon.
Pac-12 rules for 2020 dictate that each team must have at least 53 players on scholarship healthy and able to play in a game. Positive tests mixed with close contacts and contact tracing have caused the cancelation of multiple games in the conference. It is unclear whether the Huskies will have enough available players for that game and what would happen if they or USC are unable to play due to positive COVID-19 tests.