The 2021 Military Bowl has been canceled for the second year in a row. Boston College was forced to pull out of its matchup against East Carolina, scheduled for Monday, due to a combination of COVID-19 cases and injuries, according to 247Sports' Stephen Igoe. Additionally, the Fenway Bowl, featuring SMU and Virginia, has been canceled after positive cases on the Cavaliers' roster. The game was set to be the final one for coach Bronco Mendenhall at UVA after he resigned from the program earlier this month
The bowls are the second and third outright cancellations of bowl season, joining Hawaii pulling out of the Hawaii Bowl against Memphis on Christmas Eve. Additionally, Texas A&M was forced to pull out of the Gator Bowl due to COVID issues, but Rutgers stepped up to take the Aggies' place as a 5-7 squad. Last season, 18 bowls were canceled by the pandemic.
The matchup is the second straight bowl game canceled for SMU, though the Mustangs would have been without a bulk of the coaching staff after former coach Sonny Dykes left for TCU. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were searching for their third winning season in the last four years under Mendenhall before new coach Tony Elliott takes over the program.
For East Carolina, the cancellation is especially disappointing. The Pirates have not played in a bowl game since 2014 but earned a 7-5 record in Mike Houston's third season. Boston College has not won a bowl game since 2016.
"This is painful to digest," Houston said. "I'm hurting for the young men representing our football program. We are crushed that we can't compete on Monday and allow our seniors one final opportunity to wear the Pirates uniform. Everybody involved with our program has persevered through adversity over the past two two years during this pandemic, so it was extremely difficult to tell them the 2021 season is complete."