Sources — Oversight committee to discuss whether Rutgers Scarlet Knights should be Gator Bowl opposition for Wake Forest Demon Deacons


Rutgers is expected to receive the first opportunity to replace Texas A&M and face Wake Forest in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee will meet Thursday and determine the policy for a bowl replacement opponent for Wake Forest among 5-7 teams. If the committee leans heaviest on Academic Progress Rate, Rutgers would be the first option because it has the highest score. Bowl selection criteria for teams that don’t meet the six-win threshold typically favor those with the highest APR scores.

Sources said the oversight committee also could defer to the Big Ten and the Gator Bowl about which team replaces Texas A&M, which withdrew from the game earlier Wednesday because of COVID-19 cases and other issues that impacted its roster of available players. Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told ESPN that the program was down to 38 scholarship position players, of which 20 were offensive and defensive linemen.

A Gator Bowl official told ESPN that there had been no contact with Rutgers as of Wednesday night.

Illinois has communicated its desire to replace Texas A&M and could be a preferred option, according to sources. The Action Network first reported and ESPN confirmed that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, an Illinois alum, was pushing for his alma mater to play the bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida.

NJ.com first reported that Rutgers planned to accept the bowl invitation and begin reassembling its team. The Scarlet Knights last played Nov. 27 against Maryland and were eliminated from bowl consideration a week later when eligible teams filled every spot.

Rutgers last appeared in a bowl game in 2014, the second-longest postseason drought among Power 5 teams, behind Kansas.



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