The Utah Utes still will not be able to take the field to start the 2020 season with the announcement today that their game at the UCLA Bruins is cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests this morning. Utah was barely at the threshold of having enough players to play the game before this news. This outbreak caused Utah to have to cancel their season opener against the Arizona Wildcats last week as well. The Utes will hopefully be able to take the field next Saturday to host the USC Trojans.
As much as this hurts, it might be for the best. Utah’s roster was going to be really thin for this game between the positives and players who have to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine (per Pac-12 and CDC guidelines). We know at least one starter, offensive lineman Nick Ford, would have missed the UCLA game had it been played. He Tweeted out his frustration having to miss the game due to a COVID exposure despite over 20 negative COVID tests. Ford likely would have been one of many starters out for the Utes. Head coach Kyle Whittingham stated that the Utes were having to prepare scout team and walk on players who had not received practice reps since early in fall camp due to players missing. If no more players test positive, many of the players who would have to miss the Arizona and UCLA games should be off quarantine in time for the USC game. The Trojans faced off against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday and have not had any positive tests despite Arizona State having a massive COVID outbreak causing them to cancel their game against the California Golden Bears. Cal and UCLA will now play each other on Sunday. Arizona State has reported had six coaches, including head coach Herm Edwards, and one side of the ball all test positive.
With COVID spiking both in Utah and around the United States, we are likely to see many more football games cancelled in the coming weeks. The United States has topped 100,000 COVID positives every day for over a week now, and Utah is averaging well over 2,000 cases, and set a record with over 3,900 positives yesterday. We are seeing football games canceled in the SEC (where over half their games are canceled tomorrow) and the Big Ten.
We always knew this season would be a challenge, and it is basically an exhibition in my mind for the Pac-12 at this point. Utah is a very young team this year, so this season offers them a chance to get some experience to set the team up well for 2021.