By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite a surge in cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, fans of Air Force and Louisville expressed relief Tuesday, Dec. 28 that the Servpro First Responder Bowl went as planned.

Charles Johnson came to the Gerald J. Ford Stadium at SMU in Dallas to watch his son Joshua, a wide receiver for Louisville.

“To have the opportunity to play, to play here in Dallas at this beautiful campus SMU, with beautiful weather, we’re pretty excited. As we took note of other games being cancelled, we did come to the realization that this game could also be cancelled. But we’re glad it’s here,” he said.

Lauren Diorio, an Air Force fan, said she remained optimistic about this game all along. “I wasn’t too nervous. I felt everything was going to fall into place. I thought they were going to have this game.”

Air Force defeated Louisville 31-28.

While teams in the Servpro First Responder Bowl took the field, outbreaks of COVID-19 have sacked four other college football bowl games so far: The Hawaii Bowl set for December 24, the Military Bowl set for December 27, the Fenway Bowl set for December 29 and the Arizona Bowl set for December 31.

SMU, which played host to the First Responder Bowl, was set to play in the Fenway Bowl until there was an outbreak of the virus at its opponent, Virginia.

At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, both Alabama and Cincinnati are preparing for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday.

As a precaution, all media events for the game are being conducted virtually.

COVID-19 has sidelined two of Alabama’s assistant coaches temporarily, but Coach Nick Saban said Sunday that they’ll be able to join the team before the game.

“We’re using the same protocols that we used in the past for COVID situations,” said Saban. They will do all their work coaching virtually with players. It’s very similar to the way I did it when I tested positive before the Auburn game a year ago.”

Cincinnati Coach Luke Fickell said Sunday that his team has tried to come up with a game plan to avoid COVID-19.

“We’ll be smart about who we’re around. We’ll be smart around where we’re going, but we’re going to be us and continue to do what we’ve done all year. We’ve found a way for it to work for us,” said Fickell.