The SEC doesn’t do hurricanes well.

My first thought after reading this lengthy Kevin Scarbinsky genuflection to Greg Sankey over the cancellation of the Florida-LSU game was simple:  if this is such a fabulous decision, why are Georgia and South Carolina playing?

The reality is that Sankey has been little more than an observer here, leaving it up to the administrations of the host schools to figure out a course of action.  That’s why we learned about the game in Columbia being moved to Sunday not from the league office, or even through a joint announcement from the schools’ athletic directors, but from Will Muschamp on his radio show.  But at least Sankey was nodding in the background.

“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest of safety to play the game on Sunday rather than Saturday night,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation of the schools who worked closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to accomodate this change in the schedule.”

If there’s one thing Georgia knows how to do, it’s accommodate, so there’s little surprise there.  And, honestly, it’s not as if the game has much impact on the regular season, other than making sure local Columbia merchants don’t miss a pay day, although you can’t help but wonder how many folks who will attend the game are planning on staying in town and spending money this weekend.  But the show must go on, I suppose.

Everything I just said about Columbia seems to be thrown out the door in Gainesville, though, as Jeremy Foley had a very specific idea about how to resolve the situation and was willing to take his ball and go home if LSU wouldn’t agree to go along with him.

Well, at least Foley asked.

It’s not an easy fix.

The league said it will work with both universities to reschedule the game later in the season, if possible.

The schools have different opinions on how it should be handled, and ultimately the league will decide.

The 18th-ranked Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) ideally would like to play the game Nov. 19 in Gainesville, a scenario that doesn’t seem very attractive for the Tigers.

Florida and LSU each play nonconference games at home that Saturday and would need to buy out those opponents, South Alabama for the Tigers and Presbyterian for the Gators. LSU (3-2, 2-1) would be on the hook for $1.5 million to South Alabama, and Florida would have to pay $500,000 to Presbyterian of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Doing that would mean the Tigers would end the regular season with three consecutive road games — against Arkansas (Nov. 12), Florida (Nov. 19) and Texas A&M (Nov. 24).

“We told the league we’re 100 percent committed to whatever scenario they can come up with,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Certainly we don’t have a consistent open date. … It’s not as easy sometimes as it seems and involves other games, it involves other teams, it involves television contracts, whatever have you.

“Whatever scenario they come up with, we’re going to be in favor of. We want to play the football game.”

LSU would rather not play three straight league games on the road, especially considering the last one, against the Aggies, is during a shortened week. It also would mean giving up a home game and losing revenue for the school and the city.

“I haven’t come to a decision on that yet, but it would be pretty damn tough to play on the 19th and then play A&M on Thursday, so I’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of the team,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said.

The Tigers are likely to push for a cancellation of the game.

Commissioner, meet your rock and your hard place.

Oh, yeah, let’s not forget there’s another potential actor here.

The biggest question surrounding the game if it’s not made up would be how it affects the SEC standings. If either team wins out, there could be potential ramifications for Auburn, Tennessee and maybe others. The SEC said Thursday that a team that finishes 6-1 in league play would go to the conference title game over a 6-2 team even if the 6-2 won a head-to-head matchup.

“They have to play that football game,” Volunteers coach Butch Jones said. “I know the SEC will do the right thing.”

Booch, I find your faith disturbing.  I guarantee you that Sankey’s Plan A right now is to hope fervently that Florida loses another conference game.  I’m a Georgia fan, so obviously my preference would be for the Dawgs to bail the commissioner out, but there’s a part of me that would love to see Sankey flop around having to deal with the potential mess.

It’ll be even worse if nothing is worked out before the end of the regular season.  Let’s face it:  despite Foley’s assurances that Florida wants to play the LSU game, why in the world would he be motivated to meet the conference and LSU half way if that would mean risking a division title?  I sure wouldn’t and I don’t see how Sankey can force him to.

Speaking of being a Georgia fan, there’s one other little tidbit to keep in mind.  With the cancellation, the Gators now have two bye weeks in the time leading up to the Cocktail Party.  That sound you hear in the background is Steve Spurrier, cackling.

Heck of a job, Sankey.


UPDATE:  More on this from And The Valley Shook’s Billy Gomila.


Filed under SEC Football

22 responses to “The SEC doesn’t do hurricanes well.

  1. Jeff Sanchez

    “If there’s one thing Georgia knows how to do, it’s accommodate, so there’s little surprise there”

    Well done.

    And nice to se Booch has his priorities clearly in order.

  2. Connor

    Both of these decisions have been handled badly, but that’s not surprising. I still think it’s more likely than not that our game gets canceled. They’ve bought 24 hours and if the storm veers of or weakens significantly they can do it, but if it’s as bad as expected South Carolina will be in no position to host a football game Sunday.

  3. heyberto

    If they can’t complete the conference schedule, then they should be ruled out from conference title contention. They could’ve moved to Sunday too, just like SC did. Everyone is being stubborn, and I get the reasons why.. but the fact remains if they can’t come up with a plan, then they should be ruled out of contention for the East and West titles. If Florida somehow finishes that the game wouldn’t make a difference in their being champion, then that’d be ok, but we don’t know that yet.

  4. illini84

    A couple of years ago Illinois played Clemson in a 11am Sunday game. It was first come first served and I figured i would be lightly attended because it was only hoop and on SUNDAY!!! The place was jammed by 10am. I don’t think they’ll have any problem in Columbia.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Apples and oranges. How many people does that gym hold and no one is tailgating. Wasn’t that play off game? My son went with his roommate a Clemson grad. I know Clemson won in a close game.

  5. ASEF

    People tend to underestimate the clean up after these storms. Which is why, moving forward, the league needs a policy: if a hurricane has your region in its crosshairs, the game is going to the visiting site at the commissioners discretion, tough crap, deal with it.

  6. Irwin R. Fletcher

    Speaking of the cocktail party…if Jax is really getting 10-12 ft storm surge up the St. John’s River, the Gator Bowl and the city may not be ready to host a game in two weeks.

    So if Im ADGM, you better be working the phones to make sure it doesn’t end up in Gainesville. What am I saying…of course it would end up in Gainesville.

    • The game ending up in Gainesville wouldn’t surprise me in the least. If they end up honoring Georgia’s tickets to allow 40,000 fans in the Swamp, that would be the only way I would agree to that.

  7. AthensHomerDawg

    With the cancellation, the Gators now have two bye weeks in the time leading up to the Cocktail Party. That sound you hear in the background is Steve Spurrier, cackling.

    Just my thoughts. They spent a week preparing for LSU.They got The Zou next week. At best they get a couple days in the film room and avoid any injuries. Dawgs get to travel and have a short week to prepare for Vandy. We definitely will need a bye week.

  8. markclegg

    Where was Greg? I am sure KS was thrilled that the world found out about it during Boom’s radio show, while Kirby was still in the dark.

    PR people, PR…..

  9. Uglydawg

    I’m not ready to concede the SECe to anybody yet. Tennessee still has to play Alabama, A&M and Missouri, They could very easily lose those. Missouri will match up very good against the Vols, I believe.
    But it would be poetic justice for Florida to slide in ahead of Bootch and steal the East without playing LSU. Oh, what a sight that would be.
    But we know from experience that the loser of the SEC Championship game goes to a lower bowl than the runner up of their division, so Bootch should really be happy to let Florida be the team to take the ass-whoopin in ATL.

  10. Bob

    Probably the single best option and fairest would be to slip the SEC title game one week and let LSU and Florida play first week in Dec. Not ideal and the bowl folks wouldn’t like it, but it would be the right thing to do. Of course that means it is unlikely to happen.

  11. Sanford222view

    I don’t get why there isn’t a standard mode of operation for these situations dictated by the conference. If my information is correct hurricanes and football games have both been around for a few years so this isn’t something new. Now I realize every situation is different but it seems to me the SEC should already have some standard guidelines and rules in place for relocating/rescheduling conference games.

    I think the standard rule should be move it to the other team’s field if that location is safe and then adjust the home and home schedule moving forward. It didn’t seem to bother the SEC when they did it to the Georgia/Auburn series for conference expansion. This doesn’t happen every season so the whiners screaming, “that’s not fair! We lost a home game!” can be told to worry more about peoples safety and well being.

  12. Hogbody Spradlin

    I gotta give a tip of the hat to Jeremy Foley for making a gracious sounding offer that put LSU on its heels.

    • hooper

      I hate to do it, but when I see Jeremy Foley speak I think, now that’s what a real AD sounds like. Is it even possible for us to have one like that??

  13. Hurricane McGarity will destroy UGA

  14. Bulldog Joe

    Don’t care what the gators do. Glad we’re able to get our game in.

    Go Dawgs.

  15. DawgByte

    “And, honestly, it’s not as if the game has much impact on the regular season, other than making sure local Columbia merchants don’t miss a pay day, although you can’t help but wonder how many folks who will attend the game are planning on staying in town and spending money this weekend.”
    LOL, did your subscription to “Susan Sarandon’s Guide To Communism” get lost in the mail this month, causing your panties to get in a wad?

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