Texas A&M opted out of its matchup against Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 31, the program announced Wednesday.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said he doesn’t have enough players to field a team due to a combination of COVID-19 and season-ending injuries. The Aggies were down to 38 scholarship players, with just 13 eligible members on defense, according to Brett McMurphy of The Action Network.
Wake Forest announced it is working with the ACC and Gator Bowl officials to find a replacement for the contest.
Rutgers is expected to have the first opportunity to replace Texas A&M, sources told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Mark Schlabach, and Heather Dinich.
The Scarlet Knights would be the front-runners if the Division I oversight committee prioritizes the academic progress rate, which is typically considered when a team doesn’t meet the six-win threshold needed to qualify for a bowl game, according to ESPN.
The committee is expected to meet Thursday to determine a policy for the Demon Deacons’ potential opponent and will consider teams with 5-7 records.
If the Gator Bowl isn’t played, teams won’t get the $5.35-million payout, Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger notes.
Texas A&M hasn’t practiced since suspending all football operations late last week due to the outbreak, Gator Bowl president Greg McGarity said Tuesday, according to Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union.
The Aggies finished the regular season at No. 25 in the final College Football Playoff rankings while Wake Forest ended up at No. 17.