The Music City Bowl was canceled Sunday because a COVID-19 outbreak left Missouri unable to play Iowa in the matchup that was scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville.
It's the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18 bowl games scheduled to be played this season have been canceled.
Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said the Tigers, who went 5-5 in their first year under coach Eli Drinkwitz, have had a "significant increase in positive COVID-19 tests among our student-athletes, coaches and staff" since the end of the regular season.
Missouri is the third Southeastern Conference team that has had to pull out of its bowl game because of the coronavirus, joining Tennessee and South Carolina. Army was able to replace Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia to salvage that game, set for Thursday in Memphis. South Carolina's situation left the University of Alabama at Birmingham without an opponent in the Gasparilla Bowl.
Iowa (6-2) was put in the same predicament, with no short-notice replacement available to face the Big Ten's Hawkeyes.
"We are extremely disappointed to have our season end today," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "This is a remarkable group of players and men, and it has been an honor to coach them."
The coach also said the Hawkeyes "have overcome several challenges together during a season like no other." Ferentz tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, and the program was rocked during the summer by allegations from former players of systemic racism.
The Music City Bowl had seemed to be in danger this past week when Iowa paused football activities due to COVID-19 cases, but the Hawkeyes resumed practice this weekend. Iowa got all eight of its scheduled regular-season games in before having first its championship weekend Big Ten matchup against Michigan canceled and now its bowl, too.
The Tigers, coming off back-to-back losses, will have to wait until next year to try to return to the win column.
"I am extremely proud of the fight and resiliency that our players have shown throughout this challenging season," Drinkwitz said. "This is the eighth time in 11 games we've been faced with a schedule adjustment, but we've been able to fight through and finish while competing at a very high level throughout the season, which I believe shows the true character of our team."