After the annual Apple Cup rivalry with Washington State was canceled due to COVID-19 problems, Washington reached out to BYU to measure Cougars’ interest in replacing WSU this coming weekend, according to several national college football journalists.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com and Mike Vorel of the Seattle Times were among those who initially reported on the possibility.
Later Sunday, Feldman reported that “BYU rejected the possibility of playing Washington this coming weekend” because it “wanted to wait until after the placement (College Football Playoff) Tuesday”
SOURCES: #BYU turned down the opportunity to play #Washington this coming weekend. UDub had reached out yesterday but were told that BYU would wait until after the CFP ranking on Tuesday to measure their place. “It’s off the table.”
– Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 23, 2020
BYU officials did not immediately return text messages for confirmation.
“It’s off the table,” Feldman reported, citing unnamed sources.
After defeating North Alabama 66-14 on Saturday, BYU is not scheduled to play again until Dec. 12 against San Diego State in Provo, but coach Kalani Sitake and athletic director Tom Holmoe have repeatedly acknowledged they would like to add more games to the schedule. if the conditions are correct.
“If you want to assume anything, you probably have to assume we want to get games,” Sitake said. “And Tom is not a tough guy to get hold of.”
Hear that Washington is trying to plan BYU for this week.
– Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 22, 2020
A BYU-Washington rematch of last year’s 45-19 Huskies victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium was to be played in Seattle under the terms Pac-12 mentioned last week when it announced the teams could play nonconference games.
BYU will also have to adhere to all Pac-12 tests and related protocols, a possible stumbling block because Cougars tests differently and less frequently.
Pac-12 criteria also stipulate that the game must be broadcast by a Pac-12 TV partner.
And if a Pac-12 opponent becomes available at the end of the day on Thursday in a given week, the conference game must be played instead of a non-conference game.
In essence, BYU will have to accept a game that can be canceled on Thanksgiving night if another Pac-12 team needs an opponent.
Washington has reached out to BYU on planning a game for this week, but so far BYU has resisted, sources tell me and @ESPNRittenberg
– Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) November 22, 2020
Another Pac-12 requirement is that teams have 53 scholarship players available, including a quarterback, seven offensive linemen and four defensive linemen. It is not clear whether this rule will apply to BYU.
Last Monday, the Sitake Deseret News reported that BYU, a college football independent, did not have a similar threshold for playing games.
“We need 11 to play on offense, 11 to play on defense and 11 to play on special teams. So that’s pretty much it, ”he said. “… If there’s enough to put on the field, we’ll play.”
Holmoe told BYUtv on Saturday – long before it was known Washington was looking for an opponent – that his search for games was on hold until the location of the College Football Playoff was released on Tuesday night.
With every possible opponent that emerges, the Cougars naturally weigh the risks and rewards that such a matchup would make in terms of their long-range hopes of making the College Football Playoff and / or getting an invitation to a New Year’s Six Bowl game.
I think the problem here, as many have guessed, is that BYU will wait to see where it is placed in the Common Fisheries Policy on Tuesday before deciding whether it’s worth playing UW. UW may not want to wait that long just to be told no. https://t.co/0XOcPRex7g
– Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) November 23, 2020