Will the Florida home game vs. Tennessee on Sept. 16 be played as scheduled?

By Adam Silverstein
September 9, 2017
Will the Florida home game vs. Tennessee on Sept. 16 be played as scheduled?
Football

Image Credit: @GatorsFB/Twitter

With Hurricane Irma already forcing nearly every college football team in the state of Florida to cancel its Week 2 games, the focus now shifts to Week 3, which includes two massive rivalry showdowns.

The Florida Gators will be looking for revenge next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Gainesville, Florida, after seeing their 11-year winning streak over the Tennessee Volunteers come to an end last season. Just 150 miles away, Florida State is set to host Miami in their rivalry game; the Seminoles hold a seven-game winning streak on the Canes, which some believe could be poised for an upset this season.

While the status of Florida-Tennessee remains up in the air, the Tallahassee Democrat reports that the Florida State-Miami game is on the verge of being moved three weeks to Oct. 7 as the teams share a bye week this season. FSU has closed campus through next Friday and an announcement about the game being pushed could come this Sunday.

The Gators do not appear poised to make a decision on their game at this time. “Our focus is ensuring the safety of our student athletes, staff and families,” UF’s Steve McClain told CBS Sports. “We will assess our resources and facilities after the storm, and we hope for the best for all those in the path of Irma.”

Hurricane Irma, presently a Category 3 storm, is scheduled to make landfall in Key West, Florida, on Sunday morning. The eye of the hurricane will be west of Gainesville and south of Tallahassee on Monday morning. The state should be rid of the devastating parts of the storm by Tuesday morning, though it will obviously leave vast destruction behind.

Assuming facilities are in playable condition, practice fields can be utilized, and roads will be cleared in time and the proper security and staffing can be present at the games — a lot to ask for following a hurricane — the Florida teams would have a maximum of four days to prepare for their respective rivalry games.

The 2001 UF-UT game was pushed back from the third week in September to Dec. 1 following the 9/11 attacks along with the rest of the league’s schedule that week; however, as such, the SEC Championship Game was also delayed an additional week back to Dec. 8.

Florida and Tennessee do not share an open date with the Gators off on Oct. 21, the week before facing Georgia, and the Volunteers off on Oct. 7. Florida and Tennessee face their permanent cross-division rivals (LSU and Alabama, respectively) on one another’s open dates, making any schedule adjustment difficult. They also do not face a nonconference opponent on a shared date.

Should the game need to be moved, a change of facility with the game still being played on Sept. 16 rather than a different date would certainly be a possibility. Considering the reduced preparation time if the game is indeed played next week and the fact that the Gators would need to travel for a “home” game for the second straight season if it is played away from Gainesville, Florida would certainly be up against some additional adversity.

UF has seen two games canceled and one game postponed due to weather in the last four seasons.

5 Comments

  1. Ben Hankins says:

    If needed, How about having the UT/FLA game in Atlanta. Mercedes stadium or Georgia Dome?

  2. Ben Hankins says:

    Also, the “old” Turner Field in Atlanta is a football stadium now for Georgia State. It is available on the 16th as well as Bobby Dodd stadium at Ga Tech.

  3. Toney Cannon says:

    I’m all for moving the game if needed, my concern would be for those who bought tickets for the game outside of season ticket holders still be valid, if played in GA or any where else..

  4. Rob says:

    Moving the game would be an option but fans are misplaced after hurricane Irma! Plus Atlanta has had some storm damage as well. People come first before football even in the SEC! Go Vols!!

  5. Rob says:

    How about “Bristol Motor Speedway?”

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