Boise State became the latest team to back out of a bowl game due to COVID-19 cases as the Broncos are unable to play in Friday's Arizona Bowl against Central Michigan.
Boise State's inability to play set up an opportunity for Central Michigan to play Washington State in the Sun Bowl.
— Bowl Season (@BowlSeason) December 28, 2021
The Cougars were in need of an opponent to play in El Paso, Texas, on Friday after Miami backed out of the Sun Bowl because of its own COVID cases.
There are many financial reasons for Central Michigan to head to El Paso to play Washington State. The Sun Bowl has a combined payout of over $4 million while the payout for teams in the Arizona Bowl is less than $500,000. That disparity sets up a potential scenario where the Arizona Bowl is canceled.
If the Arizona Bowl is canceled it will become the fourth bowl game to not be played because of the surge in COVID-19 cases. The Hawaii Bowl was the first bowl to be canceled after Hawaii didn't have enough players and the Military Bowl and Fenway Bowls were canceled Sunday as Virginia (Fenway Bowl) and Boston College (Military Bowl) couldn't field teams.
Texas A&M was the first school to back out of a game because of COVID-19 cases but the Gator Bowl recruited Rutgers as a replacement. That game is also set to be played Friday between the Scarlet Knights and Wake Forest.