Miami withdraws from Sun Bowl due to COVID, Washington State hopeful for new opponent
A fourth bowl game cancellation this postseason has hit and this time it’s impacting a Pac-12 side.
Washington State’s opponent for Friday’s Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, Miami, has officially withdrawn from the game due to COVID issues with the program.
Miami Athletics announced Sunday that its football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against Washington State due to COVID-19 protocols. pic.twitter.com/LeDTHsfWjK
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) December 27, 2021
The Hurricanes’ football program had seen a chunk of its team go into COVID protocols in recent days and planned to not travel to El Paso until the day before the game because of it, but it would appear the Canes just won’t have enough available players.
“We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Miami deputy AD Jennifer Strawley said in a statement. “But due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting our roster we do not have enough student-athletes to safely compete, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority.
“… We regret the impact this has on the Washington State program and their postseason experience. I want to commend the Sun Bowl Association for their tireless work in helping us navigate this situation over the past several days. We are grateful for their support as an Atlantic Coast Conference bowl partner.”
The Washington State program said in a statement it would work with the Pac-12 conference and the Sun Bowl to find a new opponent for the game.
— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) December 27, 2021
Head coach Jake Dickert added to that sentiment, tweeting a call for a replacement team to step in. “Our team is in El Paso and willing to play any opponent,” he said. “Our team just wants one more chance to finish this storied 2021 season.”
The game is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 31, at 9 a.m. PT. Finding a replacement
This comes shortly after the Military Bowl and Fenway Bowl were canceled earlier on Sunday due to COVID issues with their respective schools. The Military Bowl was scheduled for Monday between Boston College and East Carolina while the Fenway Bowl was scheduled for Thursday between Virginia and SMU. Boston College and Virginia are dealing with COVID cases.
Washington State does have a few days, fortunately, to work to find a replacement team. Rutgers, at 5-7 but with a strong enough APR score, stepped up in the wake of Texas A&M’s withdrawal from the Gator Bowl to give Wake Forest an opponent. Illinois, also 5-7, was outspoken at that time about wanting a chance to play in a bowl game should a replacement team be needed.
Teams up next on the 5-7 APR pecking order include Syracuse, Texas and Illinois, by the way. https://t.co/oNnvhuiI9X
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 27, 2021