On Wednesday, news came down that Texas A&M would not be able to participate in the Gator Bowl due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Action Network's Brett McMurphy reported, "Gator Bowl could have replaced Texas A&M w/a 5-7 team based on APR." Adding, "Rutgers had 1st option, but declined. Other not expected to accept. 'How many 5-7 teams have been practicing or are still in school? None,'" McMurphy's source said.
Illinois head coach Bret Bielema had an answer. Bielema quote tweeted McMurphy's post with a message for A&M's opponent Wake Forest.
"Waiting by the phone..." the Illini coach said.
Bielema's team fits the mold, finishing 5-7 after a horrid 1-4 start. The Fighting Illini won four of their last seven games. Capping 2021 off with a 47-14 blowout victory over Northwestern.
Illinois could cap the year off even better with a bowl appearance against Wake Forest. The game is scheduled for New Year's Eve in Jacksonville, Florida.
Wake Forest reportedly still wants to play, but the No. 17 Demon Deacons need another team to be freed up from one of their bowl games. Which may not be too unlikely with all of the COVID cases sweeping through sports right now.