Photo: Florida A&M Athletics

The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl said it is “aggressively” working with the NCAA to find a replacement for its upcoming game after Texas A&M was forced to drop out because of injuries and COVID-19 issues.

Hello, Florida A&M?

On Wednesday, FAMU head coach Willie Simmons tweeted that he would be interested in the Rattlers being considered to face Wake Forest on Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Hey Gator Bowl committee!!!,” Simmons posted on the social media site.

Though the overture was all in jest, FCS schools are ineligible to participate in the FBS-sanctioned bowl, per NCAA bylaws.

Simmons, however, wasn’t the first HBCU coach to solicit its services to play in a bowl game. Last December, Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders also took to Twitter to offer that his Tigers play in a bowl after a myriad of games were canceled in 2020 due to COVID outbreaks.

Also read: Celebration Bowl TV viewership up 33% from 2019; third highest-rated game on Saturday

The Rattlers (9-3) are coming off a season where it qualified for the FCS playoffs, losing 38-14 to Southeastern Louisiana in the first round.

The program on Monday was ranked No. 1 in an NCAA HBCU power rankings poll ahead of SWAC champion Jackson State and Celebration Bowl winner South Carolina State.

Florida A&M then declared itself Black college football national champion, a distinction that has since gone to South Carolina State or Jackson State in various HBCU media polls.



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