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

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Kyle Whittingham

FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2019, file photo, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham walks the sideline during the first half of the Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game against Texas in San Antonio. Whittingham was not all that surprised when his team was picked to finish third in the south division during the preseason Pac-12 media poll. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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 cancellation announced Friday is the second in two days for the Pac-12, which is just preparing to kick off a seven-game football season after watching while other conferences began playing in recent weeks. The game between Washington and California was canceled Thursday.

The league said Utah doesn’t have the required minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of positive tests and the need for other players to isolate under contact tracing protocols. The Pac-12 didn’t specify how many players had tested positive.

“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.

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