Well, this sucks.
According to sources, TCU’s appearance in the Texas Bowl has been cancelled, due to COVID issues within the Horned Frogs’ program.
News came out early Tuesday afternoon that the game putting TCU Football against Arkansas on New Year’s Eve in Houston was in jeopardy, after several players returned to Fort Worth following a short three day break for the holiday and tested positive for COVID-19. In that smoke there was some fire, as Gary Patterson’s Tuesday press conference was pushed back to the evening and a team meeting was scheduled for the Razorbacks at 1:45pm, an hour after they were supposed to be boarding busses to the airport for a short flight to Houston. Within minutes, Horned Frog Blitz’s Jeremy Clark was confirming the rumors on his site.
The Horned Frogs were down numbers for two position groups on the defensive side, the defensive line and secondary. It is also being reported that two safeties were opting out of the game, which we can fairly safely assume are Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington — both draft-eligible players. Moehrig was and is widely expected to forgo his final year of eligibility, though Washington was generally expected to return for what would be his redshirt junior year campaign.
This is the second game that TCU has had to cancel due to COVID, as the Frogs book ended their season in the most 2020 way possible: cancelling the opener against SMU and the bowl game against Arkansas. The Frogs will finish their year 6-4 with wins over two ranked opponents and a ton of momentum heading into 2021 — which will hopefully be a much more normal season. TCU should bring back the entire starting offensive unit (which was much improved down the stretch) and as many as eight defensive starters — including stalwarts like Corey Bethley and up-and-coming stars like Ochaun Mathis and Khari Coleman. If Noah Daniels elects to return coming off of an injury, this will be a salty unit, even if replacing Garret Wallow, Moehrig, and Washington is a tall task.
The Texas Bowl is the latest in a string of cancellations this bowl season amid the Coronavirus Pandemic. By my count, it is the 17th to be outright cancelled, with several others moving locations due to restrictions in other states — including the Rose Bowl, which will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington as part of the College Football Playoffs.