Oregon Ducks replace Washington Huskies in Pac-12 title game in college football

Oregon to replace Washington in Pac-12 title game (1:22)

Adam Rittenberg gives the latest on the Pac-12's decision to have Oregon play in the Pac-12 title game due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Washington football program. (1:22)

Oregon will replace Washington as the Pac-12 North representative in the conference championship football game, the conference announced Monday.

It was determined the Huskies would be unable to field the 53 scholarship players needed to play because of positive cases for COVID-19 and the related contact-tracing protocols, the conference said. The Huskies were also below the required number for a specific position group.

"Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 championship," Washington head coach Jimmy Lake said in a statement. "I am so proud of the work our team and staff have put in to position ourselves to attain that goal. Unfortunately, the virus is in our footprint. We have not been able to resume football activities and currently the entirety of one of our key position groups, deemed a critical position group by the Pac-12, is in quarantine. There is no path forward to practice or play this week. Our focus now is getting everyone healthy so we can resume football activities and prepare for a possible bowl game. We are crushed that we cannot bring home the Pac-12 trophy for our fans, staff and players."

In a Zoom call with reporters, Lake said the team's entire offensive line, including walk-ons, is currently unavailable and the team has not practiced since Wednesday. The Huskies are expected to be able to play in a bowl game, Lake said.

Conference rules dictate the second-place finisher replaces the division champions, resulting in Oregon (3-2) playing USC (5-0), in Los Angeles on Friday, for the title, the Pac-12 said.

This possibility has been clear since the Huskies (3-1) were forced to cancel last week's game against Oregon, which would have sent the winner to the championship game had it been played. The Pac-12 announced Sunday that Oregon would play Colorado in Los Angeles, which was done to allow either Oregon or Colorado to be used as a replacement team if either division winner was unable to play.

It is unclear whether Colorado (4-1, 3-1 Pac-12) will play this week, while Stanford at UCLA, Washington State at Utah and Arizona State at Oregon State remain scheduled to be played. California-Arizona, which was also announced Saturday, was canceled on Sunday.