Head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Arizona Wildcats were preparing for a special teams meeting before eating lunch and hopping on a plane to Salt Lake City to play its season opener against Utah. The game had originally been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, but several positive tests within the Utah football program the day before forced the Pac-12 to cancel the game after Utah could not meet the minimum number of scholarship players on its roster.
Similar to Arizona, the Washington Huskies also had its first game of the season cancelled after positive COVID-19 tests were found within the Cal football program — who Washington was scheduled to play on Saturday. Since Arizona and Washington had fully healthy rosters and no week one opponent, the idea arose to shuffle up the schedule and have the Wildcats and the Huskies play each other instead.
Jon Wilner from the Mercury News reported on Twitter Friday, Nov. 6, that the two sides had considered the possibility but “couldn’t make it work logistically.” Sumlin later confirmed that a late decision to reschedule was never an option.
“We were not trying to get a game going,” Sumlin said. “I don't know how you can just flip around and play another college football team in 24 hours. That doesn't make any sense to me. We haven’t watched any of [Washington’s] video … we’re not going to just turn around and go play Washington in 24 hours. That was never a consideration.”
Sumlin delivered the news to the rest of the team that the game had been called off and that they would instead be staying in Tucson to prepare for USC next week.
“It’s really difficult, I mean basically it’s your last workout. What we do on Friday is not a walkthrough, we’re actually practicing,” Sumlin said. “At that point, you’re about to eat lunch and get on a bus, head to the airport and go. There were some extremely frustrated young men, some tears. They’ve put a lot of work into it … we’ve had some time for me to visit with the captains, for me to visit with some guys on Saturday and talk about what’s in front of us.”
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