The Military Bowl won’t be played as scheduled on Monday while the Fenway Bowl will have to wait another year to happen.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thame reported that both games aren’t going to happen because of COVID-19 issues among teams set to participate in them. The Military Bowl is off because Boston College doesn’t have enough players to play East Carolina while Virginia is unable to play SMU in the Fenway Bowl on Wednesday.
Virginia said that positive COVID-19 tests on Saturday and Sunday showed that it was impossible to play the game.
“We want to thank the Fenway Bowl and its staff for their preparation to host the game and for their communication with us over the past few days,” Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said. “We appreciate all of the hard work by our team and coaching staff. They earned this bowl invitation, and it is unfortunate they will not be able to compete in the game to complete the season. We regret how this also impacts our fans who were planning on attending the game as well as the SMU program and its fans.”
The Military Bowl confirmed Sunday morning that it wouldn’t happen.
The two games join the Hawaii Bowl among games canceled this season because of Omicron variant. The Hawaii Bowl was canceled on Thursday as Hawaii didn’t have enough players to participate. Texas A&M had to back out of the Gator Bowl because of COVID-19 cases and a lack of players, though Rutgers accepted an invite to replace the Aggies against Wake Forest.
The Fenway Bowl was set to debut in 2020 before it was canceled due to the pandemic. Its cancellation also means that the Bronco Mendenhall era is officially over at Virginia. The Cavaliers’ coach announced earlier this month that he was stepping down. He was set to coach the bowl game on Wednesday before longtime Clemson assistant Tony Elliott takes over as the team’s coach.
Virginia finishes the season at 6-6 while SMU finishes the season at 8-4.
The Military Bowl was also not played in 2020 because of the pandemic. The game, which began in 2008, was last played in 2019 when North Carolina beat Temple. Boston College ends the season at 6-6 while East Carolina is 7-5.