Thursday update — It’s official. Rutgers is going bowling.
Better late than never— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) December 23, 2021
The Scarlet Knights are going BOWLING pic.twitter.com/cJw3mrqsCu
Update, 10:20 p.m. — Brett McMurphy reports Rutgers playing in the Gator Bowl is “not a done deal” because of health and safety protocols. In fact, he goes on to say no 5-7 team is officially confirmed yet.
Update, 9:33 p.m. — Rutgers has signed on to replace the Aggies in the Gator Bowl against the Demon Deacons, per Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic. The Scarlet Knights went 5-7 this season but due to the lack of bowl teams eligible to replace Texas A&M, Greg Schiano’s group will happily accept this invitation. There were reports of Illinois and several other teams being in the mix in what was turning into a full blown bowl realignment conversation, but ultimately it’ll be Rutgers facing Wake Forest.
The Texas A&M Aggies were scheduled to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the Gator Bowl on December 31, but they are expected to withdraw from the game. Ross Dellenger is reporting the Aggies do not have enough players due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Gator Bowl organizers are searching for a replacement team, but Dellenger tweeted that would only be possible if another bowl game is impacted by COVID-19.
A&M finished the season 8-4, but had one of the signature victories of the season by beating Alabama 41-38 on October 9th. Jimbo Fisher had already lost starting quarterback Zach Calzada to the transfer portal, and the Aggies were expected to be shorthanded for this game anyway.
Wake Forest now needs an opponent to get to Jacksonville to celebrate an excellent season that saw them win 10 games on the way to the ACC Championship Game. Though they lost to Pitt in the title matchup, Sam Hartman and company exceeded expectations all year long.
Perhaps an opponent finds them however, as with the way teams are unable to compete due to Covid-19 outbreaks across sports, we could get another bowl game in need of a replacement team.