The USC Trojans will be playing in Friday's Pac-12 Football Championship Game this Friday, but they won't be playing the team they expected.
The conference's North Division winner, the Washington Huskies, have been pulled from the game due to COVID-19 cases that left the team without enough eligible players to compete, the conference announced Monday.
So now the Trojans will take on the Oregon Ducks, which finished just behind Washington in the North Division. Fifty-three scholarship players are needed, and the Huskies also were below the number required for a specific position requirement.
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Washington's athletic director issued a statement expressing disappointment. The unusual, but not unexpected, development seemed a possibility after Washington had to cancel last week's game against Oregon.
"I am crushed for our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have worked tirelessly to find a healthy way to compete this season,'' UW Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen said in a statement. "Husky student-athletes come to Washington to compete for championships, so this one really hurts for everyone involved -- our students, our coaches and our community of loyal Husky fans and alumni. Our football program has battled through adversity all year during these challenging times, and I am so disappointed they won't have the opportunity to play and represent the University of Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday night.''
The Trojans (5-0) finished a brief regular season with a comeback win Saturday over UCLA.