Image Credit: ESPNI
The Florida Gators and LSU Tigers will be playing in 2016 after all. Rather than the game being held in Gainesville, Florida, as scheduled, the Gators will hit the road to play the Tigers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Nov. 19 in a game that will begin no later than 3:30 p.m. ET.
As a compromise for Florida giving up a home game and allowing LSU not to have to play on the road in three straight weeks, the Gators will add a home game to their 2017 slate with the Tigers playing in Gainesville in back-to-back seasons.
Florida, which was scheduled to play one less home game in 2017 due to its decision to open the season against Michigan in a neutral-site game in Arlington, Texas, now has an absolutely stacked home slate next season including Tennessee, LSU, Texas A&M and Florida State.
The Florida-LSU series will reset after 2018 with the home-and-home games carrying on as regularly scheduled.
The Gators and Tigers will also buyout their scheduled opponents for Nov. 19 (Presbyterian and South Alabama, respectively).
“It was important for us to come to a resolution. Each university had its own set of concerns throughout this process, however existing SEC regulations did not provide an avenue to resolve conflicting issues in a more timely manner,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “As I have repeatedly said, this game needed to be played. In the end, I want to give credit to the University of Florida for making concessions to move this year’s game to Baton Rouge.”
Yes, it was Florida and not LSU that ultimately decided to compromise, as was to be expected considering the stance LSU athletic director Joe Alleva took early on that his program would refuse to give up a home game in order to make this contest happen.
Florida will now play just five home games in 2016 with seven on tap for 2017 when only six were scheduled. Senior Day, which was set for Nov. 19, will now be moved up to Nov. 12 against South Carolina. Season ticket holders will have money spent towards the LSU and Presbyterian games banked for 2017, while students will be refunded.
The SEC also noted in its release that neither the Gators nor Tigers would have been eligible to compete for the league title had their full complement of an eight-game league schedule not been played.