Image Credit: ESPNI
Hurricane Matthew will be raining down on the state of Florida late this week, and the effects of the storm’s rainfall and high winds — floods, destroyed property, power outages, blocked roadways — has put the status of the Florida Gators‘ football game against the LSU Tigers in jeopardy.
Florida is scheduled to host LSU on Saturday at noon, marking the earliest kickoff time in the history of a rivalry that dates back to 1953. But considering the path of the storm, there may still be downpours and heavy winds into late Friday, which would make hosting a football game at that time difficult for any number of logistical reasons including safety and security, fan attendance and field conditions.
The Gators announced late Wednesday that the game would definitely be played in Gainesville, Florida, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and not get moved to another location. However, a final decision on the kickoff time has not been made and will not be announced until Thursday at 1 p.m.
Florida is likely attempting to work with ESPN, which owns broadcast rights for the game, to find a later window in which the game can be played and aired live nationally.
“This is something that could be devastating. It’s already been devastating in other countries, right? And we get so wrapped up in the importance of an SEC game on a Saturday, and yet my feelings, when you get a chance to actually sit back and maybe take a breath, are first-responders that have to be on top of it. Obviously the possibility of displaced families and those type of things,” Gators head coach Jim McElwain said.
OnlyGators.com will update this post when something definitive is announced about the game’s time.