Texas A&M drops out of Gator Bowl
No. 25 Texas A&M announced Wednesday that it is withdrawing from a Gator Bowl matchup with No. 17 Wake Forest, citing a combination of COVID-19 issues as well as injuries.
Gator Bowl officials are seeking a replacement to face the Demon Deacons (10-3) on Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Fla. The leading candidate to take the vacancy is Rutgers (5-7), according to multiple media outlets.
“We are disappointed that Texas A&M University and the Aggie fans will be unable to represent the Southeastern Conference in Jacksonville at this year’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game,” Gator Bowl chairman John Duce said in a statement. “However, the health and safety of the studentathletes, coaches and staff remains our primary concern.”
“It is unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team,” Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said.
According to The Athletic, one option the Gator Bowl has weighed is whether to match Wake Forest with a team that has already played in a bowl game this month. Any team seeking to be considered as A&M’s replacement would need NCAA approval to play a second bowl game.
ESPN reported that the NCAA
Division I Football Oversight Committee would meet Thursday to decide whether a team without the necessary six wins for bowl eligibility would be granted an exemption. Rutgers could be first in line based on its superior Academic Progress Rate score, per ESPN.
Texas A&M (8-4) began the season by winning seven of its first nine games. It has since dropped two of its last three, including a 27-24 decision to LSU on Nov. 27.