Texas A&M unable to play Wake Forest in Gator Bowl due to COVID-19 outbreak; Rutgers emerges as likely opponent

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on college sports, with the latest impacting Wake Forest and its matchup in the Gator Bowl. Per several reports, Texas A&M is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak and will not be able to play in the Gator Bowl.

Wake Forest currently does not have an opponent and officials are trying to find a replacement team, per ESPN. According to the same report, Wake Forest still wants to play in the Gator Bowl.

The Deacons are 10-3 and finished atop the Atlantic Division in the ACC. Back on Dec. 4, Wake Forest lost to Kenny Pickett and Pittsburgh in the 2021 ACC Championship game.

According to college football insider Brett McMurphy, the Gator Bowl could replace Texas A&M with a 5-7 program — based off APR. The bowl game reached out to Rutgers, apparently. However, from a practical standpoint, it’s hard to find a team that finished 5-7 that has spent the last 2-3 weeks practicing.

Illinois (5-7) from the Big Ten is a possible and willing opponent.

Another option being discussed: adding an opponent that’s already played in a bowl game. According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo, this is another possibility. It would require a waiver process, but technically: this could actually happen.

Either way, Wake Forest needs to know by Friday (Dec. 24) if the Gator Bowl can find an opponent.


Update: 8:26 p.m., est:

Wake Forest is likely to play Rutgers (5-7) in the Gator Bowl now.

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