George Frey/Associated Press
Saturday’s game between the USC Trojans and the Colorado Buffaloes will not take place because of COVID-19 cases for the former.
On Thursday, the Pac-12 announced the game is deemed a no contest due to “USC not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game at a specific position group as a result of a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contract tracing protocols.”
Colorado announced it will host San Diego State on Saturday as a replacement game. The Aztecs were available because their game against Fresno State was also canceled.
Athletic director Rick George released a statement and referenced discussions with San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker:
“It is unfortunate that our game at Southern California had to be canceled, but as we all continue to maintain, the most important concern we all have is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. After the Pac-12 CEO’s created some requirements for possible non-conference opponents to fill any vacancies created by cancellations, we moved earlier this week to find a possible opponent to replace the Trojans. When San Diego State’s game at Fresno State was canceled for similar reasons, I spoke with John and we put an agreement in place if USC could not play.”
Prior to the Pac-12’s announcement, USC released a statement on Thursday saying it conducted activities virtually “as a precautionary measure because a player is currently being tested due to symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection.”
The statement revealed two players were isolated after testing positive and five more were quarantining following contract tracing.
The Pac-12 was the final Power Five conference to start its season because of COVID-19 concerns, which left just six regular-season games for each team on the schedule prior to conference-championship weekend.
USC is 3-0 following wins over Arizona State, Arizona and Utah, but Colorado is just 2-0 with wins over UCLA and Stanford.
The Buffaloes’ game last Saturday against Arizona State was also canceled due to the Sun Devils’ COVID-19 outbreak.
USC was No. 18 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings that were released Tuesday, and this means it will have one less opportunity to make a statement to the committee with limited games on the schedule. It is scheduled to face Washington State on Dec. 4.
After San Diego State, Colorado’s next scheduled game is Dec. 5 against Arizona.