When one door closes, another opens. Could this be the case for Texas?
No. 25 Texas A&M will not play in the Gator Bowl against No. 17 Wake Forest on Dec. 31 due to a COVID-19 outbreak and various injuries. The Aggies currently only have 38 scholarship players active, according to multiple reports.
“It is unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Wake Forest (10-3) still wants to play next week at TIAA Bank Stadium. Early reports indicate that several teams have been contacted to step in for the Aggies.
Would Texas be considered an option?
From a marketing standpoint, this would make sense. The Longhorns are one of college football’s more profitable programs, bringing in $147 million in revenue per year.
Then again Texas has entered its offseason following a lackluster 5-7 season under first-year coach Steve Sarkisian.
If Texas hasn’t practiced since late November, getting ready for a bowl game with little lead time would be problematic. Several players have also entered the transfer portal, including starting quarterback Casey Thompson.
Texas would likely start Hudson Card, who was named the Week 1 starter before being benched in Week 3. Behind him would be Charles Wright and Ben Ballard.
Gator Bowl president Greg McGarity said the game isn’t being written off yet but the clock is ticking. The game usually features an matchup between a SEC and ACC teams, but McGarity said conference affiliation or winning record would not be a factor.
Texas, along with Oklahoma, will join the SEC by the summer of 2025.
In terms of criteria, Texas fits the bill to play in one more game. Considering players in the portal and battling injuries, Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte could pass on the opportunity.
Several teams that could be considered to face Wake Forest include Florida State, Syracuse, TCU, Illinois, California, Nebraska and Navy.
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