Sun Bowl saved: Central Michigan to face Washington State after losing Arizona Bowl opponent

The Sun Bowl is back on.

After its originally scheduled opponent Miami dropped out because of a reported COVID-19 outbreak on the team, Washington State will now face Central Michigan in the Dec. 31 bowl. A day after Miami canceled, CMU lost its bowl opponent on Monday when Boise State had to withdraw from the Arizona Bowl because of its own COVID-19 outbreak.

With two teams in need of a bowl partner, it didn't take long for the natural conclusion to play out. The Arizona Bowl, with a streaming audience and combined payout of $350,000, is officially canceled. The Sun Bowl, with a national TV audience on CBS and a combined payout of more than $4.5 million is officially back on with the Chippewas now heading to El Paso, Texas.

MUNCIE, IN - NOVEMBER 17: A Central Michigan Chippewas helmet sits on the back of the team bench during the college football game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Ball State Cardinals on November 17, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Sun Bowl's gain is the Arizona Bowl's loss as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the bowl schedule. (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Washington State, whose head coach Jake Dickert pleaded for an opponent Sunday night, issued a statement Monday thanking the Sun Bowl and Central Michigan for making things work.

Boise State was the sixth team to withdraw from a bowl game amid the Omicron COVID-19 spike. Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported on Sunday that both the Military Bowl between Boston College and East Carolina and the Fenway Bowl between Virginia and SMU were canceled. Boston College and Virginia were unable to field teams because of COVID-19.

An outbreak on the Hawaii football team forced the cancellation of last week's Hawaii Bowl. COVID-19 also forced Texas A&M to withdraw from the Gator Bowl. Rutgers will now play Wake Forest in the Dec. 31 game.