The war of words regarding the potential rescheduling of LSU’s game at Florida continued for the second straight week on Monday.
The contest was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew hitting the state over the weekend and the Tigers in particular have held firm that the game will not be played because the two schools do not share a common bye week. Many have expected that the two programs will find a way to either move or buyout their cupcake games against lower level opponents on November 19th in order to find a way to play, but that apparently is not going to happen if one side gets its way.
“What I said the other day about this game being very difficult to reschedule is still true,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said at a press conference on Monday. “One thing we’re going to hold very firm on is that we have a home game on Nov. 19 and we’re going to have a home game on Nov. 19. We are going to have a game on Nov. 19. We are not going to change that situation.”
LSU plays South Alabama in Baton Rouge on that date while Florida hosts Presbyterian. The cost to buyout both games is reportedly in the $2 million range but the Tigers are understandably holding a little firmer than the Gators on the matter because they bring in millions for a home game and don’t want to lose that revenue.
“The presidents and athletic directors from Florida and LSU agreed on Thursday that the schools and SEC Office would make every effort to find a scheduling solution to their postponed game,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release. “As I have said, we need to play the game we need to have people come together to find a way to make that happen. We continue to work with the universities to play this game.”
“We understand the importance of playing this game and we want to play this game,” Florida AD Jeremy Foley added in a statement of his own. “We continue to work with the SEC and LSU to make that happen.”
Other dates being discussed include October 29th, when LSU is on a bye. That would prove to be problematic however as Florida plays their annual rivalry game against Georgia in Jacksonville and it’s doubtful the Tigers want to give up the open week before playing Alabama anyway. Playing the game on December 3rd and moving the SEC title game back a week has also been brought up but the scenario seems far-fetched given the logistical hurdles involved and the impact it will have on the postseason picture across the country.
While there’s still two months left in the season, the game between the two schools could have a big impact as to who wins both divisions. The SEC determines who plays in the championship game based on winning percentage, so there could be issues if either finished 6-1 in conference play — earning a trip to Atlanta over a 6-2 team that played all their SEC games.
It will be interesting to see what the SEC office decides to do with the matchup but it seems quite clear that both sides are really digging in to do what’s best for them when it comes to rescheduling the game.
Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.
“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”
Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.
Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.
Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.
According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.
“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”
When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.
USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.
“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”
The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.
Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.
The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.
“The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”
Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.
“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”
Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.
Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.