Oct 3, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Justin Fuente reacts as his team plays against the Duke Blue Devils in the second half at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Virginia Tech Hokies won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech, Kansas State opt against participating in bowls

Virginia Tech and Kansas State have opted against seeking bowl bids and will end their respective seasons, the schools announced Wednesday.

The Hokies’ decision ends the nation’s longest bowl streak at 27 years. They join fellow Atlantic Coast Conference schools Boston College, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Georgia Tech in declining to participate in bowl games this season.

Virginia Tech (5-6) posted its first regular-season losing campaign since posting a 2-8-1 record in 1992. A .500 record requirement for bowl consideration in the 2020 season was waived due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had a team meeting and our players have decided to not play, and I’m going to support them 100 percent,” Hokies coach Justin Fuente said on Wednesday. “It speaks to the difficulty of the season they’ve been through. There were players who wanted to play, but we were going to do this all together or not, and it became evident that it was a very difficult situation.

“There’s kids that would like to go home for Christmas. This is ultimately about our kids. I think they’ve sacrificed enough. They’ve been at this for some time and given up freedoms and plenty of opportunities, so we’re going to turn the page and get ready to go.”

The Wildcats’ reasoning for their decision is that they would not have enough players to prepare for a bowl game. Instead, the school announced that it is pausing football activities following its most recent COVID-19 test results and contact tracing.

“This has been an unbelievably challenging year for everyone, but we were very excited to have the opportunity to end the season in a bowl game,” Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor said. “But, with new positive cases and additional close contacts in our program, we would not have enough players to continue practices and field a team for the bowl game. I want to thank our student-athletes and coaches for their tireless effort this year and for being flexible during a time when every day presented new challenges.”

The Wildcats were eligible to compete in a bowl after finishing with a 4-6 overall record and 4-5 mark in Big 12 play.

“It certainly is a bittersweet ending to the season, but playing 10 regular-season games throughout all of this uncertainty was nothing short of a miracle,” Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. “I want to thank our players, especially our seniors, for continuing to battle each and every day, no matter what circumstance was put before them. This season was difficult and frustrating, but I think it is also one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. I hope we will all learn from it and become better, both as coaches and players, as we head into the offseason.”

–Field Level Media