Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton woke up Friday feeling uncertain.
The Bears' season opener six days earlier against Washington had already been canceled. Their upcoming game against Arizona State appeared headed for the same outcome. The Bears had been cleared to open their season, but whether they could play, who they would face and where the game would kick off were unknown. Cal could end up in Tempe, Arizona, as scheduled, or at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, or in Seattle, to face Washington after all.
Or, the Bears could be home in Berkeley, playing a Pac-12 opponent -- or no one, yet again.
UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond woke up Friday feeling good. He worked out and then stopped by football practice.
Great practice this am, love the energy! 💙🐻💛 pic.twitter.com/3441Lk4d2e— Martin Jarmond (@MartinJarmond) November 13, 2020
Jarmond had spoken daily with Utah athletic director Mark Harlan about the Utes' COVID-19 situation. Harlan told Jarmond on Thursday night that Utah remained on track to face UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Around 10:30 a.m., Jarmond received a text message: Utah had more coronavirus issues. He tried Harlan but got no answer. Harlan would call 25 minutes later, and Jarmond immediately knew from the tone of his voice. The Utes, who had already canceled their opener against Arizona, would be sidelined again.
"My mind starts going into overload," Jarmond said. "The only thing I'm thinking while I'm watching these [UCLA players] at practice, 'They're practicing hard, they're sacrificing, they're doing everything that we asked them to do. I better do my damnedest to give them a chance to compete this weekend, if I can.'"