For the first time in school history, weather has forced Florida State off the football field for two weeks in a row.
Only time and Hurricane Irma’s final toll inflicted on central Florida Sunday and Monday will determine whether the University of Florida will join FSU in going dark two weeks in a row.
The ACC announced on Saturday that Florida State and Miami will play their game scheduled for Saturday on Oct. 7. The game remains at Doak Cambell Stadium in Tallahassee.
Miami’s game game against Georgia Tech, originally on Thursday, Oct. 12, also will move to Oct. 14 to accommodate the change of its game against the Seminoles.
The SEC and Florida officials will wait until after the storm clears through and assess any damage in the Gainesville area — including estimates as to when power might be restored — before making a decision on Saturday’s game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium between the Gators and Tennessee.
While weather and events such as 9-11 has forced changes to football schedules, UF and FSU have never had two games in a row affected.
The quick move to re-schedule FSU vs. Miami was made because of the uncertainty on how Hurricane Irma will affect both Miami and Tallahassee as it moves through the state. It also was an easy decision since Oct. 7 was a shared off-date between FSU and UM.
“It quickly became clear that it was in the best interest of our players, coaches and fans to reschedule next week’s Miami at Florida State game,” ACC commissioner John Swafford said in a statement. “Typically, it’s not easy to reschedule games, but in this instance, there was a clear path to adjust quickly and effectively. I appreciate the leadership at our schools and with our television partners as this process was seamless, and we were able to adjust in as fair a way as possible.”
A tougher call will be the Gators and Vols. The two teams do not share a common off date and the option the SEC had last season when Florida’s game against LSU was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew — the Gators buying out a non-conference opponent and playing the SEC game on that date — isn’t an option because UF’s game on Nov. 18 against Alabama-Birmingham conflicts with Tennessee’s SEC game against LSU that day.
That’s perhaps why the SEC and UF want to wait to see if the game can be played on Saturday, if at all possible.
“Our focus is ensuring the safety of our student-athletes, staff and families,” Florida senior associate athletic director Steve McClain said. “We will assess our resources and facilities after the storm and we hope for the best for all those in the path of Irma.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said all the league can do at the moment is wait.
“The SEC is in communication with the athletics department at both institutions and will continue to monitor the impact of Hurricane Irma and its aftermath,” Sankey said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the great state of Florida.”
Florida and FSU cancelled their non-conference games scheduled for Saturday, the Gators against Northern Colorado and the Seminoles against Louisiana-Monroe. Those games won’t be re-scheduled because there are no common off-dates.
Miami had a road game scheduled at Arkansas State but cancelled it because the school felt its players and staffs should have the option of evacuating of being with their families. The Hurricanes haven’t practiced since last Tuesday.
Florida State closed its campus for the rest of this week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma,” Swofford in his statement. “As important as football is to all of us, these kinds of events provide perspective when you’re talking about life-threatening events and the aftermath ramifications.
UCF, South Florida, and Florida also canceled games this weekend. FAU played at Wisconsin on Saturday, and FIU moved its game against Alcorn State from south Florida to Birmingham.