There were only 28 bowls scheduled to be played this season, but three of those have now gone down. The Dec. 26 Gasparilla Bowl (South Carolina-UAB) was canceled on Dec. 22 following a COVID-19 outbreak at South Carolina, the Dec. 30 Music City Bowl (Missouri-Iowa) was canceled Sunday following an outbreak at Missouri, and the Dec. 31 Texas Bowl (TCU-Arkansas) has now been canceled two days ahead of when it was supposed to be played thanks to a combination of an outbreak and injuries at TCU. Here’s the Horned Frogs’ statement from athletic director Jeremiah Donati:
— Jeremiah Donati (@JDonati_TCU) December 29, 2020
This means that the Horned Frogs and coach Gary Patterson (seen above Dec. 12 against Louisiana Tech) will end their season 6-4, while the Razorbacks will finish 3-7. It also means a significant loss for ESPN’s New Year’s Eve programming schedule; they had three bowls scheduled back-to-back-to-back on the main ESPN network, with the Armed Forces Bowl (Tulsa-Liberty) at noon ET, the Liberty Bowl (West Virginia-Army) at 4 p.m. ET, and the Texas Bowl at 8 p.m. ET. And while New Year’s Eve is not normally a great night for elite sports programming ratings (as the College Football Playoff committee found out a few years back), it’s certainly a good night to have some less-prominent sports events that people can throw on the TV, perhaps especially this year with less available to do outside the home. So this is an unfortunate loss for ESPN.
[ESPN; photo from Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports]