Florida-Idaho season opener suspended

Severe weather and unsafe field conditions forced the suspension of Saturday’s college football season opener for the Florida Gators and Idaho Vandals at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Originally scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., the game was initially delayed 2:48 due to consistent lightning in the area. When play did eventually commence just before 10 p.m., Florida was only able to receive the opening kickoff from Idaho before lightning was again reported and referees sent the teams off to the locker rooms.

Approximately 45 minutes later, the game was officially “terminated.”

The Gators will now be forced to sit tight for the long-awaited start to their 2014 season, one that the administration, coaches, players and fans have been clawing for since Florida finished with seven-straight losses and a 4-8 record in 2013, its first losing season since going winless in 1979.

UF next hosts the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. in a game that will serve as the Gators’ debut on the new SEC Network.

Read much more on the Florida-Idaho suspension…after the break!

Official statement from Florida:

Game officials for the Florida-Idaho football game, as well as athletics directors from both schools, in conjunction with the Southeastern Conference, have determined that the game between the Gators and Vandals has been suspended. This is due to weather, unsafe and unplayable field conditions at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday night.

According to the NCAA rule book, if a game is suspended before the end of the fourth period and cannot be resumed, there are four possible options:

1. Resume the game at a later date;
2. Terminate the game with a determined final score;
3. Forfeit of the game; or
4. Declare a no contest.

The athletics directors from both schools, in consultation with the coaches, must agree on one of the four options listed above. This agreement will include the final score if the game is terminated.
If the game is resumed, it will begin with the same time remaining and under the identical conditions of down, distance, field position and player eligibility.

The Gators and Vandals both have an open date on Oct. 25. However, it is an especially important bye week for Florida ahead of its annual neutral-site rivalry game against Georgia in Jacksonville.

It is unknown whether Idaho, which according to Florida Today‘s David Jones was set to be paid $975,000 for the game, will be able to claim that entire payment if the game is not restarted.

In the lone play of Saturday’s contest, Gators redshirt junior wide receiver Valdez Showers returned a pooched opening kickoff 64 yards down to the Vandals’ 14-yard line. Florida was set to open up the season in the red zone, but referees called the second delay before UF could even get off a play.

The game would pick up from there if resumed.

According to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson, next week’s game against Eastern Michigan will be the latest that Florida has opened a season since 2004 when the Gators were forced to cancel their opener against Middle Tennessee due to Hurricane Frances. UF also wound up starting the 2004 campaign against EMU.

The following statement from Gators head coach Will Muschamp was released by the school 25 minutes after the game was officially canceled:

It’s unfortunate that the weather didn’t cooperate for tonight’s season opener. After long discussions with the head referee, it was determined that the field conditions were too dangerous for the student-athletes.

“As everyone saw with that opening kickoff, I thought that our guys were ready and fired up to play. We appreciate the fans coming out and supporting us and sitting through several weather delays. It was amazing the energy and passion shown in the stands all night. The Gator Nation showed why they’re the best fans in the country, starting with one of the most enthusiastic Gator Walks that we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

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32 Responses to “Florida-Idaho season opener suspended”

  1. Drew says:

    Please just call it a no contest. The bye week in the middle of the sec gaunlet before Georgia is way more important than this game against Idaho.

  2. Doug says:

    Why not line up and play tomorrow afternoon?

    • It’s a great question. Probably school, hotel availability, money, television, etc.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        I thought that myself, but I bet it is accomodations, set plane flights to leave, etc. I have never once seen a delayed game be played the next day, it is always either cancelled or moved to later in year. I am sure it is all monetarily decided.

        • Matt J says:

          I would think TV would be fine with it on this week only, being that NFL isn’t on until next Sunday, but the other reasons are probably standing in the way

    • Michael Jones says:

      The problem with that suggestion is that it makes too much sense. Not complicated enough.

      I agree with everyone who thinks the game should not be rescheduled. A week off in the middle of the SEC gauntlet and before the UGA game is more important.

  3. Chuck says:

    It would be nice to have one W towards becoming eligible for a bowl. Must win 6 of next 11. Odds sure went down on that goal at least. Also can’t help the desire to motivate more people to come to games. Especially for those longer drives understanding lightning in Florida is sorta common and these rules will surely be implemented numerous times in the coming years. Nothing anyone can do about it. That’s just the way it goes (and continues to). Yes, I’m pretty down right now, with whatever enthusiasm I had sapped…or soaked for the moment. Maybe they get to play next week.

  4. Kaleb Wolfe says:

    I agree with Doug after all it is memorial day weekend after all so I see no reason why they can play tomorrow Idaho gets paid and we get to see the gators score

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Memorial day is in May, I am sure you mean Labor Day…the communist holiday we observe for some reason (although I don’t mind the day off)

      • Razzlegator says:

        I always wonder about people who inject politics into sports blogs. Yeah why should we celebrate the people and their labor that built this country?

        • Chuck says:

          Correct, we should feel some irritation that our politics aren’t represented and further the thread about politics by saying we hate politics in sports threads but must tell everyone our viewpoint that labor is awesome. Gotcha.

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      Labor Day, Kaleb, but I agree.

    • Daniel M. says:

      “I see no reason why they can play tomorrow…”

      That’s a pretty significant typo.

  5. Geoff says:

    Play tomorrow … No NFL. Would be most watched game. Why not

  6. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Since apparently Foley isn’t spending any time on a contingency plan for the next football head coach, maybe he could write a contingency plan for this type thing in the future. I agree with most of the points already made…need a W for bowl eligibility, all the players needed the snaps at a real game speed, did not want to lose a player needlessly to injury on a wet slippery field, we will be banged up and need rest by Oct. 25th, the game could have been rescheduled for 10 am and many fans could have made it. Overall, very unsatisfying, but sh_t happens….I kinda feel like the girl whose prom date can’t ‘control’ himself, and I’m left thinking, “really, I spent $400 dollars and went to all this trouble and that’s it…!” LOL!
    Go Gators, hopin’ for a better date next week!

  7. G2 says:

    Probably be a half empty stadium but I say tee it up today. We need the work.

  8. Ric says:

    Does anyone know how this impacts recruits official visits? Does it use one up or can they come to another UF home game?
    I know we had some talented names visiting.

  9. Michael Jones says:

    We really needed this dress rehearsal. Our freshman 2nd string QB really needed a confidence builder under the lights.

    Almost have to feel for Muschamp. If it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.

    • Michael J. says:

      Dress rehearsal? What do you think the next two games are? The ‘real’ season doesn’t start until September 20. The Gators now have two exhibition games, instead of three, unless you count Kentucky was a worthwhile opponent. It does look like the schedule is not as intimidating after the first week. Vanderbilt looks like an awful team again. Alabama, South Carolina, and FSU don’t look as strong as projected. That said, it’s foolish to make any pronouncements over anyone’s performance in the first game. That’s why you hardly ever see anyone schedule a good opponent to open the season, you have no idea what is going to happen. I doubt Texas A&M is as good as they appeared or South Carolina is as woeful as they looked. The same goes with judging anyone else as well. One thing coaches say that is true (most of the stuff they tell you is B.S.) is that you’ll see the most improvement of team occur between the first and second game. Let’s see what the teams look like after a game is under their belt, we’ll be able to make a more informed analysis then.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        Considering what happened with GA Southern last year, I wouldn’t treat any game as a “dress rehearsal” and better consider EVERY opponent as a worthwhile opponent.

      • Chuck says:

        Given the common advice you noted, “teams improve more from week 1 to week 2… Errr….why would you figure not having that first week keeps us on course for developing a team? The logic baffles me. May as well wait till the Eastern KY game to start playing as we can really improve for the FSU game. And if all goes well we could finish 1-1 (or maybe even 2-0). And who would care exactly?

        • Michael J. says:

          I guess I’ll teach you something. No, a team is not at it best after playing it’s second game, you would hope to see improvement after each game, building up to the end of the season. But, you will see the most improvement happen from the first to the second game. There can be a dramatic improvement in how a team performs from it’s first game to the second. After that, you can expect to see a team gradually improve, but not a sharp difference like seen between the first and second game. There are reasons for this, mainly because don’t know who can actually perform in a real game and the guy who looked great in practice can not have a clue in a real game. In the first game, the coaches don’t have any idea what they’re going to get. You can hope, but you don’t really know. I’m sorry you didn’t understand that logic, it’s been known for years,which is why coaches don’t like to schedule a good team for the first game. That’s why it’s pretty rare for a good opening game, most are played against inferior opponents. This year, it even carries to the second game, the SEC slate for this upcoming week ids filled to the brim with dogs. Perhaps you are new to the sport of college football, it’s been known for years and years that you can expect the most improvement from the first to the second game.

  10. Bruce says:

    In light of my unsatisfying day of anticipation of the Gators season opener, please indulge this rant (please read in the voice of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man character from SNL):

    In MY day, we didn’t let a little thunderstorm cancel a game… we’d look up at the lightning in the heavens and waive a 9 iron high over our heads as we cheered along with Mr. Two Bits while a million volts of electricity rushed through our bodies – and we LIKED it.

    In MY day, if somehow a game was cancelled, no Gator would ever have the thought cross our minds that we might have “needed that one” to get enough wins to become bowl eligible…

    In MY day, after the Gators would return the opening kickoff all the way down the the opponent’s 14 yard line, we would wonder if on the next play we would score a TD by a flea flicker or out of the Emery & Henry, not secretly hope that we could get in close enough to perhaps make a FG.

    In MY day, we didn’t go through a new offensive coordinator once a year. We had an ol’ ball coach who was a maniacal genius who drew up his own plays, played QB himself from the sidelines, could kick a 70 yard FG and run stadiums at halftime, all while poking fun of Phil Fulmer’s dream of making in back to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Orlando Picadilly Cafeteria while he was back for UT’s annual trip to the Citrus Bowl … and we LIKED it.

    In MY day, we started our SEC schedule with the Vols to see who would control their own destiny in the SEC East, NOT with Kentucky in a game which you fear might be called the “Battle for the Basement”. (what are YOU laughing at Vandy?)

    In MY day, we didn’t schedule our September home games at NIGHT for cooler temperatures and have a comfortable fortress in the Touchdown Terrace to escape in case there was some drizzle. We played at HIGH NOON. It was 150 degrees with 200% humidity, with the sun so hot it when it reflected off the astroturf, if you looked too long at Kerwin Bell’s porno mustache it would melt your face. And we LIKED it!

    In MY day, Florida State knew they were an academic step below Devry Institute and that Larceny was the most popular major they offered, so that when a star Seminole player would get arrested for shoplifting, the coaches and administration wouldn’t think of any real consequence or suspension…oh, wait, never mind. Some things never change.

    In all kinds of weather… GO GATORS!

  11. Michael J. says:

    We did learn a couple of things about UF Saturday. One was Trip Thurman was not starting, thank God, and that Clay Nurton is UF’s starting tight end, not the transfer from Virginia. Also, the Gators didn’t lose, that is something to be thankful for. But you have to wonder if this season is going to be better than last year since as Spurrier would have said, “God didn’t smile upon the Gators Saturday.”i

  12. JaxGator says:

    Adam,

    Do you know if the suspensions will be lifted for the three players suspended even though the game was not actually played?

  13. G2 says:

    Starting to wonder if WM has a “dark cloud” following him around?? Bizarre!!

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