For the first time in this college football bowl season, one of the teams that accepted a bid to play in a game has to bow out. After reports hit the internet indicating that the 25th-ranked Texas A+M Aggies would not be able to play in the Gator Bowl against the No. 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons due to the team’s inability to field an acceptable number of players, the team announced that a mix of season-ending injuries and positive COVID-19 cases will keep them at home while the game is played on Dec. 31.
Due to a combination of COVID-19 issues within the program, as well as season-ending injuries, the Texas A&M football roster is not in a position to safely participate in the upcoming Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Wake Forest.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) December 22, 2021
Of course, the No. 1 priority is that everyone in College Station is able to stay safe and healthy, and it’s understandable that they’d prioritize that over being able to play in a game that they could opt to miss. It does put the bowl and the Demon Deacons in a situation where they are scheduled to play a game but there’s no opponent, although Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports indicates that one idea being kicked around is inviting a team that has already played in a bowl.
Sources: In the quest to find a Gator Bowl opponent for Wake Forest, one of the options being discussed is finding a team that’s already played in a bowl game. They’d need to get a waiver to play in another.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 22, 2021
As of this writing, there are no other teams in the world of college football that have needed to do this, but with COVID cases rising nationwide, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where this impacts other teams during bowl season.