Texas A&M opts out of TaxSlayer Gator Bowl; alternative opponent sought for Wake Forest

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The nation’s sixth-oldest bowl game is now in jeopardy after Texas A&M announced on Wednesday that it cannot play in the 77th TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on Dec. 31 against Wake Forest because of a COVID-19 outbreak on its team.

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.

Gator Bowl president Greg McGarity said the game isn’t being written off yet. An alternative replacement team is being considered, in consultation with ESPN, the game’s broadcast partner, the NCAA and conference presidents.

McGarity said the team doesn’t have to be from the SEC — the game matches an SEC team against an ACC team — and also doesn’t have to have a winning record.

Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M team has pulled out of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

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The NCAA has allowed teams with a record below .500 to play in bowl games in the past, with a priority on the team’s Academic Progress Rate. The teams that finished 5-7 this season among Power 5 conferences are Florida State, Syracuse, Texas, TCU, Rutgers, Illinois and California.

“Everything is on the table,” McGarity said about the possibility of bringing another ACC team in to play Wake. The Deacons are in the same division as the Seminoles and Orangemen, so it would be a rematch of a regular-season game.

McGarity said one issue was practice time: teams with losing records last played on Thanksgiving weekend, and are prohibited from practicing again until spring workouts.

One possibility could be 4-8 Navy, which beat Army on Dec….


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