In a stunning twist late Wednesday, word has come down that Rutgers could replace Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forrest.
The Aggies of Texas A&M were knocked out of the New Year’s Eve game due to a COVID outbreak. According to NJ.com, Rutgers has the highest Academic Progress Rate score among all available 5-7 teams, making Rutgers eligible to take A&M’s place in the bowl game. Rutgers is “expected” to accept the bid according to the same report. Final word should come down today.
Rutgers is set to receive — and accept — a bid to the Gator Bowl to face Wake Forest, a source confirmed to @TheAthletic. Rutgers has highest APR score among 5-7 teams & just needs the NCAA football oversight committee to rubber stamp this on Thursday. RU will replace Texas A&M.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 23, 2021
If Rutgers ends up playing in the Gator Bowl, the Big Ten would have 10 teams in bowl games and Rutgers would play in its first bowl since 2014. https://t.co/mOsL4V2cNp— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 23, 2021
Rutgers hasn’t practiced for a game in over a month. It will be a challenge for Greg Schiano and his staff to reassemble the team, especially with a number of players who have already declared for the NFL draft.
“Several key starters — including Olakunle Fatukasi, Bo Melton, Isiah Pacheco, Julius Turner and Mike Tverdov — have already shifted toward NFL draft prep, and some (if not all) have signed with agents. It is not clear if players who have signed with agents would be in position to receive eligibility waivers in the event they want to play,” NJ.com.
Rutgers hasn’t appeared in a bowl game in seven years. Their last trip to a bowl game came in 2014 in the Quick Lane Bowl, where they defeated North Carolina 40-21.
Under Greg Schiano, Rutgers has appeared in six bowl games, having won five consecutive bowl appearances under Schiano’s leadership from 2006 to 2011.