Texas A&M’s bowl game against #17 Wake Forest has officially been canceled due to a lack of players. Liucci provided a breakdown of the numbers and they’re pretty darn staggering:
Per Aggie AD Ross Bjork:— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) December 22, 2021
A&M is currently down to just 38 scholarship position players and the Ags have just 13 available scholarship players available on defense. That includes Covid, opts outs, transfers and season-ending injuries.
So with that A&M cant play in the bowl...and I’d imagine that given the payout for this bowl is around 5.3 million, this decision wasn't made lightly. Wake Forest is now charged with finding a replacement opponent, even going as far as to contact other 5-7 teams with high APR numbers—which means their first call was to Rutgers, who had this to say
Gator Bowl could have replaced Texas A&M w/a 5-7 team based on APR, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. Rutgers had 1st option, but declined. Other not expected to accept. “How many 5-7 teams have been practicing or are still in school? None,” source said— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 22, 2021
I don’t know how far down the list of 5-7 teams they’ll get but it’s likely that this is going to be the response from most of those teams. School is over, players are at home, and honestly who even knows what’s going to happen with Wake’s numbers as we get deeper into this break.
I don't care about politics or anything like that, and I don't particularly care to opine on how the decision was made, only the outcome. This fuckin sucks. Absolutely sucks. All signs were pointing to Haynes King being back on the field for the first time since September, and with all the opt-outs this would have been a wonderful opportunity to see youngsters like Jardin Gilbert, Trey Zuhn, LJ Johnson, etc. We could have used this as a pre-season game to see what we had for next year.
I’m sure you’ll hear conspiracy theories about how we wanted this to happen and what not but just remember the people who peddle those are just looking for a reason to shit on the program, so pay them no mind. This absolutely sucks for the players, their families, and the fans.
Tremendously disappointing end to an up and down season.