Saturday’s scheduled SEC football game between the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators has been postponed because of Hurricane Matthew, LSU announced Thursday.
Florida was set to host the contest at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.
The teams and the league office will attempt to reschedule the contest, though the two squads do not have a common open date remaining on their 2016 schedules.
“Not a perfect scenario. None of this is perfect,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley told reporters. “But if you’re on the coast of Florida right now, your life is really not perfect.”
Foley added the school turned down an invitation to host the game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge:
Impossible to accommodate that request, which we greatly appreciated. I think everyone in this room understands how the University of Florida feels about playing LSU. This series is very important to our fan base and important to this institution, but to try and put a road trip together of 150-plus people in a day and half … again, not in the best interest of safety, not in the best interest of people that would be involved on that trip.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered the evacuation of 1.5 million people ahead of the Category 4 storm’s arrival, according to the New York Times.
“There are no excuses,” Scott explained, per the New York Times. “You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”
President Barack Obama has also declared a state of emergency in Florida, per Reuters, with the storm projected to hit the east coast of the state.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey explained his reasoning for postponing the game Thursday, per LSU’s official website:
The developments of the hurricane in the last 24 hours, the projected magnitude of its impact and the unknown aftermath of this storm have resulted in this decision to seek another date to play the LSU-Florida game. We have to be sensitive to the possible imminent disruption to the state of Florida and in particular the Gainesville and surrounding area.
In 2015, LSU’s season opener against McNeese State was canceled and never rescheduled, resulting in an 11-game regular season. However, it might be more difficult to overcome losing a conference game with postseason implications.
Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports provided a reasonable alternative for everyone:
Florida is 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the SEC while sitting in second place in the East Division. LSU is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference. LSU won its first game under interim head coach Ed Orgeron last week against Missouri.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News