2021 football schedules announced for UW Huskies, WSU Cougars
The 2020 season was a short one for the UW Huskies, WSU Cougars and the rest of the Pac-12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the newly-released schedule for the upcoming season is a full one that includes non-conference games.
The Pac-12 officially announced the 2021 schedules for all 12 of the conference’s teams, and after the Huskies and Cougars played just four games each in 2020, they are both slated to play 12 games. In 2020, the two teams were set to play eight games with the potential for a bowl game, but positive COVID-19 tests in their programs as well as in their opponents’ programs cut their seasons in half.
ANNOUNCED: The 2021 #Pac12FB schedule!!! 🏈🙌
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 2, 2021
The Huskies open their season at home against Montana (Saturday, Sept. 4) before going on the road for a big game against the Big Ten’s Michigan (Saturday, Sept. 11). The Huskies and Wolverines were slated to play last year, but both conferences opted not to play out of conference opponents in 2020 due to the pandemic. After facing Michigan, the UW Huskies will return home and play Arkansas State (Saturday, Sept. 18) to round out their three-game non-conference schedule.
The UW Huskies then start conference play with back-to-back home games against Cal (Saturday, Sept. 25) and Oregon State at home (Saturday, Oct. 2). After a Week 6 bye, Washington returns to action at home against UCLA (Saturday, Oct. 16) before back-t0-back road contests against Arizona (Friday, Oct. 22) and Stanford (Saturday, Oct. 30). Then, the UW Huskies play Oregon (Saturday, Nov. 6) and Arizona State (Saturday, Nov. 13) in Seattle before traveling to Colorado for their last road contest of the year (Saturday, Nov. 20). And, as has been tradition, the Huskies and Cougars will square off on Black Friday (Nov. 26) for the Apple Cup.
THE WASHINGTON 2021 SCHEDULE ⬇️
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) March 2, 2021
For the Cougars, they open 2021 at home in Pullman against Utah State (Saturday, Sept. 4), then will play Portland State, also at home (Saturday, Sept. 11).
WSU will start Pac-12 play in Week 3 against USC in Pullman (Saturday, Sept. 18) before two straight road contests against Utah (Saturday, Sept. 25) and Cal (Saturday, Oct. 2). The Cougars then host Oregon State (Saturday, Oct. 9) and Stanford (Saturday, Oct. 16) before their final non-conference game of the season, which will see them host BYU (Saturday, Oct. 23). The Cougars play at Arizona State (Saturday, Oct. 30) ahead of a Week 10 bye and then return to action with a road game against Oregon (Saturday, Nov. 13). After that, it’s back-to-back Friday night games for the Cougs, who play Arizona (Friday, Nov. 19) and then go to Seattle for the Apple Cup against the Huskies (Friday, Nov. 26).
Shortened 2020 season
The full 12-game regular season is a welcome sight for the Pac-12, as the conference’s 2020 season started late, was much shorter than usual and was full of canceled contests. Both teams in Washington were no exception.
The UW Huskies went 3-1 in the abbreviated season and actually won the Pac-12 North. But due to a COVID-19 outbreak that left the team under the threshold for available scholarship players, they could not appear in the Pac-12 Championship. Washington beat Oregon State, Arizona and Utah, but lost to Stanford. It was Jimmy Lake’s first season as head coach after serving as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for many years under Chris Petersen.
Overall, the Huskies missed out on games against California, Oregon, Washington State as well as the Pac-12 title game in their shortened eight-game schedule and did not pursue a bowl game, which made 2020 the first season since 2008 the Huskies didn’t participate in postseason play. 2020 marked the first time since 1944 that the Huskies and Cougars did not play each other in the annual rivalry game.
The Cougars also had four games canceled, losing out on games with Stanford, UW and Cal as well as a final eighth opponent that would be determined by records during the week of the Pac-12 Championship. WSU opened the season by beating Oregon State but lost to Oregon, USC and UCLA to finish the season 1-3 in Nick Rolovich’s first year as head coach.