This weekend was set to be a big weekend for football in the state of Florida, as the Florida Gators were set to take on the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.
Mother Nature had a different plan in mind. Hurricane Matthew, a category four hurricane skimmed along the east coast of Florida late Thursday and early Friday morning, causing one of the most anticipated match ups in the SEC to be cancelled.
Florida and LSU couldn’t come to an agreement on if the game should be played in Gainesville, or the time of the game should have been moved back to avoid conflict, but ultimately, the two sides wouldn’t budge. LSU offered transportation for the Gators to Baton Rouge to play the game, but that wasn’t an option for the Gators. Though it was a nice gesture by LSU, that wouldn’t really be fair to Florida, as they would have had to go to LSU for three consecutive years in a row. That just isn’t feasible for a game that is suppose to have major implications in the SEC Championship picture.
The SEC stepped in on Thursday afternoon and decided it would be best if Florida and LSU were to cancel the upcoming game for safety reasons. The University of Florida put out this statement following the SEC’s decision to cancel the game.
FLORIDA-LSU GAME POSTPONED
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 6, 2016
Gators Beat Reporter Scott Carter was one of the first to report on the campus closing this weekend.
.@UF just released an advisory that due to potential impact of Hurricane Matthew, campus to be closed Saturday and Sunday.
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) October 6, 2016
Fox Sports Radio’s Twitter account wrote an article on the match up between the Gators and the Tigers, but wrote about the wrong reasons for the cancellation of the match.
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) October 7, 2016
Florida Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio wasn’t having any bit of Fox Sports Clay Travis’ statements about why the game was cancelled. Some other players chimed in with their opinions on the match up as well.
— Luke Del Rio (@Ldelrio12) October 7, 2016
Really wanted to play tomorrow
— Teez Tabor (@_31Flavorz) October 7, 2016
What are y’all even talking about lol https://t.co/ULXxu8jZcF
— Quincy Wilson (@dc_wilson954) October 7, 2016
There is no question this storm was a serious matter. When a category four hurricane is barreling into the state that you live in, you are forced to take cautionary action in order to stay safe. Playing a game with a natural disaster so close to a state is uncalled for and should be postponed. A lot of these players have family that live along the east coast of Florida, not to mention the South Florida area, which saw some of the strongest action from Hurricane Matthew.
Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee chimed in on this matter and he has a great point.
Everybody’s all about improving player welfare.
But when a game gets cancelled due to a CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE, it’s “WHY CAN’T THEY PLAY?”
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 6, 2016
Y’all, Florida has 52 players on its current roster from the PINK area on this map.
You want them to worry about a football game???? pic.twitter.com/cFwWTg3kdj
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 6, 2016
When you have family that is so close to the center of a natural disaster, that is way bigger than just a game of football.
This will be the first time that the LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators haven’t played since 1970. One issue the SEC has to deal with is if they want to reschedule the match up between the Tigers and the Gators for a later date, causing the schools to cancel match ups against out of conference opponents, pay them, and finally have the game played at a later date.
Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley says if the SEC wants to reschedule the game for November 19, when both LSU and Florida have games against out of conference opponents, the Gators will be there.
Though Florida and LSU was one of the marquee match up of the weekend, Hurricane Matthew had effects on ABC’s prime time match up between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes, which will take place in Coral Gables on Saturday night.
— NoleGameday (@NoleGameday) October 7, 2016
— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) October 7, 2016
Hurricane Matthew was set to make landfall around the Brevard County area on Thursday night, but the storm took a turn to the north and luckily for South Florida, they missed out on what would have been catastrophic conditions for the area. WJXT 4 News out of Jacksonville posted a video in the middle of the storm, which this could have easily happened in the Miami area if there would have been a direct landing of the storm.
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) October 7, 2016
Due to the conditions across the state of Florida, the Florida State Seminoles Marching Band will not make the trip down to Miami to help support the football team on Saturday night.
Tailgating will be limited on Saturday for both the Seminoles and Hurricane fans, as certain areas will be closed until a certain time, and wont be open until closer to game time.
In conclusion, there is way more to life than football. When there is a natural disaster that is occurring, players need to be with their families so that they can try to remain safe as a unit. Sure, Florida/LSU and Miami/Florida State are match ups that the entire country want to see, but safety is a major key, and I believe the SEC did the right thing by cancelling the match.