Central Michigan will travel approximately 300 miles from Tucson to El Paso to play Washington State in the Sun Bowl after Miami was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 issues. The new matchup marks the first game between these two programs and the CMU’s first appearance in the historic Sun Bowl.
The Chippewas were originally scheduled to play at the Arizona Bowl, but the game was postponed after Boise State was forced to withdraw due to similar Covid issues. Washington State remained committed to the Sun Bowl and publicly campaigned to find an opponent, especially after the team landed in El Paso.
While the financial terms have not yet been announced at this time, the Sun Bowl will air on CBS and is said to be giving more than $ 4.5 million to each school. For comparison, the Arizona Bowl should pay $ 350,000 to each participating school.
Miami had to withdraw from the Sun Bowl due to serious Covid issues within the program. The Hurricanes would also have played with an interim coach after former coach Manny Diaz was fired.
“We are extremely disappointed that our soccer team will not be able to compete in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” Miami Deputy Sporting Director Jennifer Strawley said in a statement. “But due to the number of COVID-19 cases affecting our roster, we don’t have enough student-athletes to compete safely, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority. This one Team has worked hard all season to earn a bowl invite and my heart goes out to our student athletes, especially our seniors. I also want to thank interim head coach Jess Simpson and our soccer team for all of their efforts in preparing for this bowl game to thank.”
Washington State arrived in El Paso earlier this week for the Sun Bowl celebrations. The Cougars remained determined to find an opponent for the Sun Bowl who, until last season, only left the Rose Bowl as the second-longest bowl game in college football history. The Sun Bowl was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020, the first Sun Bowl to be missed since 1935.
“It is disappointing news that the University of Miami cannot participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” a Washington state statement said. “We’ll be working with the Pac-12 Conference and the Sun Bowl Association to hopefully find a replacement for the game.
Miami is the fifth team to withdraw from a bowl game this season due to COVID-19 logs, player de-registrations, and / or injuries that reduce the number of available players on the roster. The ‘Canes are the third ACC team to withdraw from a bowl game on Sunday.
Virginia’s virus-related problems forced SMU’s game to be canceled at the Fenway Bowl; Hawaii’s squad problem forced the Hawaii Bowl vs. Memphis to be canceled; Boston College was forced to abolish the Military Bowl against East Carolina; and Texas A&M was won by Rutgers in the Gator Bowl vs. No. Replaced 20 Wake Forest after the Aggies roster was affected by a shortage of available staff.
Miami ended the 2021 season with a record 7-5 (5-3 ACC). After the regular season was over, the Hurricanes abruptly fired Diaz and then hired former Oregon Hurricanes star Mario Cristobal as their next coach.