At a time when workforce after workforce had opted out of bowl video games, Military discovered itself in a special kind of scenario – ignored.
The Black Knights have a 9-2 document and an almost two-month-long dedication to the Independence Bowl. They appeared all set. However when the Dec. 26 recreation in Louisiana was referred to as off Sunday evening as a result of there was not an obtainable workforce to play, it instantly left Military on the surface of the postseason panorama.
A sliver of hope stays: The Black Knights may very well be in line ought to some bowl-bound workforce discover itself coping with COVID-19 points.
”These younger males have not give up all yr and we certainly will not give up now,” Military director of athletics Mike Buddie mentioned in an announcement. ”They deserve higher. Interval.”
What’s normally a joyous day for greater than 60 groups across the nation was way more surreal as organizers set the annual bowl schedule two weeks later than normal. Far under the headlines of Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Clemson, the scramble was bizarre – and within the case of Military, painful.
This solely provides insult: With bowl contracts nonetheless in power, a South Carolina workforce with a woeful 2-8 document goes to the Gasparilla Bowl.
With the season winding down, greater than 20 Bowl Subdivivion groups selected to not settle for an invite to a bowl, calling an finish to this lengthy season. That led to the weird scenario of postseason video games not having sufficient groups to fill the slots.
”It was a troublesome day for all of school soccer,” mentioned Nick Carparelli, the chief director of Bowl Season, the renamed Soccer Bowl Affiliation. ”We in all probability would have been naive to suppose that would not have been, given all of the challenges all people’s gone by way of this yr.”
Perhaps Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck summed it up finest in explaining why his workforce opted out.
”College is completed. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go,” mentioned Fleck, whose Gophers introduced they have been executed after going 3-4 with two cancellations. ”You might be speaking about 11 days of doing what? Sitting there, doing nothing. Like doing nothing apart from soccer within the hours we’re allowed. Then even have boxed lunches. Boxed breakfasts. Boxed diners. And that is going to be memorable?”
This appeared to nearly completely sum up what groups skilled all season: UTSA was set to play within the Frisco Bowl over the weekend when SMU withdrew as a consequence of COVID-19 considerations and the bowl was scrubbed. So UTSA accepted an invite to the First Responder Bowl, the place the Roadrunners came upon Sunday they may face No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette.
That is the standard playbook in ’20 – plan, cross your fingers and have a viable backup plan.
Like with the Montgomery Bowl, which is able to serve instead this season for the canceled Fenway Bowl and have Memphis towards Florida Atlantic.
The NCAA waived bowl eligibility necessities this yr due to the coronavirus pandemic, which defined why Michigan State introduced it was opting out – at 2-5, no much less. Then once more, Mike Leach and his 3-7 Mississippi State squad are heading to the Armed Forces Bowl towards No. 22 Tulsa.
Nobody lobbied more durable to play this season than Nebraska. On bowl choice day, the Cornhuskers (3-5) determined to wrap up the season.
”This yr has been a protracted grind and it’s time for our guys to have a break,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost mentioned in an announcement.
Nebraska joined a protracted record of groups who determined sufficient was sufficient, amongst them Arizona State, Boise State, Boston Faculty, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Louisville, Penn State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, SMU, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington. For the Hokies, the choice ended a 27 straight bowl recreation run.
A few of the canceled bowl video games – 15 in all, together with three on Sunday alone – included the Bahamas Bowl, Celebration Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Vacation Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, LA Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Fast Lane Bowl, Redbox Bowl and Solar Bowl.
The Navy Bowl remained in limbo late Sunday, although the chief director, Steve Beck, tweeted an curiosity find Military a postseason residence: ”We might like to host (at)ArmyWP-Soccer on the (hash)MilitaryBowl…simply have to seek out an opponent!”
Coaches across the nation have been understanding. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin listened to his gamers Sunday morning as they reached a choice to name it a yr.
”The 2020 season has not been simple, courting again to the summer season, the postponement and return of our season after which week-to-week ups and downs in coping with COVID,” workforce captains Khalil Shakir, Riley Whimpey and Avery Williams mentioned in a joint assertion. ”We gave every thing we had this season for one another and for Bronco Nation, and are proud that we made it to a championship recreation regardless of all of the challenges we confronted. Now, it’s time for all of us to get wholesome and give attention to 2021.”
AP Faculty Soccer Author Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report, together with AP Sports activities Writers Dave Campbell and Tim Sales space.
Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25