Arizona-Utah canceled, Pac-12 down to 4 games to open season

The season opener scheduled for Saturday between Utah and Arizona in Salt Lake City was canceled following a request from the Utes due to what the Pac-12 said were a number of COVID-19 cases among Utah players

The Pac-12 football season is getting off to a shaky start.

The opener between Utah and Arizona on Saturday in Salt Lake City was canceled due to a rise in positive COVID-19 cases within the Utes program.

The cancellation is the second in two days for the Pac-12, which is set to kick off its seven-game season this weekend after spending the past several weeks watching as other conferences began playing. The game between Washington California was canceled Thursday.

Games between Arizona State and No. 20 Southern California, UCLA and Colorado, Washington State and Oregon State, along with Stanford at No. 12 Oregon are still scheduled to be played Saturday.

“The cancellation of this game, following yesterday’s cancellation of the Washington at Cal football game, is of course incredibly disappointing to our student-athletes and our fans,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “At the same time it is an indication that our health and safety protocols are working in identifying positive cases and contact tracing cases.

“While all of us want to see our football student-athletes on the field competing, our number one priority must continue to be the health and safety of all those connected to Pac-12 football programs.”

In all, 10 Bowl Subdivision games this week were either canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to 47 since Aug. 26.

Two Conference USA games scheduled for this weekend, Charlotte’s game at Middle Tennessee and UTSA’s visit to Rice, were postponed earlier Friday due to positive tests and contact tracing protocols.

Utah will, barring more positive tests, now open its season Nov. 13 at UCLA.

Arizona’s new season opener will be Nov. 14 against USC.

“Our football program and athletics department have worked incredibly hard in preparation to take the field on Saturday,” Arizona AD Dave Heeke said in a statement. I could not be more disappointed that our players, coaches and staff will be unable to experience game day, which they have prepared months for. With that said, health and safety must continue to be our guiding principles throughout these uncertain times.”

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