The long national nightmare concerning LSU and Florida’s annual cross-division game has come to an end.
The two schools and the SEC office announced on Thursday that the teams would play on November 19th… but in Baton Rouge and not the originally scheduled Gainesville. The contest was supposed to be played on October 8th but was postponed as a result of Hurricane Matthew hitting the East Coast.
“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.”
The Gators do lose not one but two home games as a result of the move but will end up coming ahead down the road as the Tigers will be traveling to Gainesville both next season and the year after that, breaking with the current schedule rotation. Both schools will buyout their previously scheduled games for November 19, a home game against Presbyterian for Florida and a home date against South Alabama for LSU.
The SEC also noted that had the game not been rescheduled, both teams would have been ineligible to compete for the SEC title this season — a key clause that was not brought up when the game was originally postponed.
The rescheduled game is a big win for LSU after athletic director Joe Alleva very publicly held firm on the team playing at Tiger Stadium on November 19 no matter what. While there were a variety of scenarios being talked about, the school’s insistence did seem to limit the options for rescheduling the game. That bit of open stubbornness was likely the reason why Florida’s athletic director fired a big shot across the bow in his school’s release about having to move the game away from The Swamp this year.
“We made this decision to play the game in Baton Rouge,” Jeremy Foley said. “The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions. The Southeastern Conference offered some other solutions and the LSU administration made it clear that they were unwilling to consider other reasonable options.”
The whole mess of rescheduling the game makes LSU, Florida and the SEC commissioner come off in a negative light but it sure does liven up the schedule in late November if nothing else.