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FIU adds game with UMass to replace cancelled Indiana contest

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The AAC wasn’t the only entity getting busy (twice) Thursday rescheduling in the aftermath of the chaos caused by Hurricane Irma.

As part of the AAC’s revamping of its schedule, UMass lost its Oct. 14 game against South Florida. Florida International, meanwhile, saw its game this weekend against Indiana canceled because of the logistical difficulties traveling to Bloomington amidst the storm damage in the state of Florida.

Given both teams’ need for a 12th game, the programs announced Thursday that UMass and FIU have reached agreement on a contract to play Dec. 2 this year. That contest will be played in Miami.

Should FIU qualify for the Conference USA championship game — the Panthers were predicted to finish sixth in the East, and lost to UCF by 44 points in the opener — the game this year would not be played. The previously scheduled game in 2020 would be unaffected by any result, while UMass would travel to FIU at some undetermined date beyond 2020 if this year’s game is not played for whatever reason.

The tweaked schedule gives the Minutemen an almost unheard of bye date on back-to-back weekends (Oct. 7 & 14) in the middle of their season.

It had previously been announced that FIU’s opponent in Week 3, Indiana, had replaced that game with an Oct. 7 game against Charleston Southern.

Big Ten, Conference USA swapping bowl tie-in for 2017

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The middle of September isn’t typically the time that bowl arrangements are tweaked but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.

Conference USA confirmed details of a bowl tie-in “swap” with the Big Ten on Wednesday, causing a bit of a Texas two-step in the postseason picture for both leagues in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The move on the Big Ten’s end was originally announced back in May but it appears the CUSA end is just now being confirmed officially.

As a result:

  • A Conference USA team will now play in the Armed Forces Bowl. They’ll play against Army if the Black Knights are eligible,
  • The Big Ten will place a team in Heart of Dallas Bowl against vs. a Big 12 opponent

While the exact reason for the swap is unclear, it certainly makes a little more sense for a Big Ten team to be in Dallas against a fellow Power Five conference like the Big 12. In addition, the Big Ten has not had a team filled a slot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl since 2014 and have actually never scored a victory in the game either.

There was supposed to be a B1G squad in the bowl last season but, because of shortages elsewhere in terms of eligible teams, the game wound up being an Army win over an eventual 5-8 North Texas squad.  Conference USA apparently remains contractually tied to the Heart of Dallas Bowl until 2019, just not this year.

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 23 in Fort Worth while the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is slated to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 26.

Indiana replaces game canceled by Hurricane Irma with FCS tilt

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That didn’t take nearly as long as most thought it would.

Monday night, it was announced that Florida International’s Week 3 game against Indiana had been canceled because of Hurricane Irma’s aftermath.  At the time, IU stated they would like to schedule a game against another team for their Week 6 bye (weekend of Oct. 7).

Less than 24 hours after that cancellation, that plan became a reality as IU announced Tuesday that they will face FCS Charleston Southern on Saturday, Oct. 7, In Bloomington.  A kickoff time will be announced at a later date.

“IU Athletics continues to send our thoughts and prayers to Florida International University and all those impacted by Hurricane Irma,” the release stated.

Since this is the Hoosiers’ first game against an FCS team this season, a win would count toward the six they need to get to become bowl-eligible.

Charleston Southern had also lost a game because of Irma.  Its Week 2 game against South Carolina State was canceled due to the weather threat posed by the hurricane and its remnants.

Hurricane Irma aftermath forces cancellation of Indiana-FIU game

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Not surprisingly, Hurricane Irma and her swath of destruction continues to have an impact on college football.

Indiana announced that, after discussions with officials from Florida International, the university supports FIU’s decision to cancel their Week 3 game in Bloomington.  Below is a portion of the school’s release on the latest Irma-related development:

[IU athletic director Fred] Glass and FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia have been in regular communication since Sunday about the situation, and with FIU classes being canceled, several FIU players and coaches being from the South Florida area, along with the considerable logistical hurdles to overcome in traveling to Bloomington, the decision to cancel the game was made late on Monday evening. The two programs plan to schedule a game between the schools at Memorial Stadium at some point in the future.

The Hoosiers have a bye in Week 6 (weekend of Oct. 7), and the football program is hopeful they can cobble together a game for that weekend.  Given the timeframe, such a game would more than likely involve an FCS team.

Five of the seven recently-completed Week 2 games involving FBS teams from the state of Florida were canceled ahead of Irma making landfall.  FIU’s home game against Alcorn State, originally scheduled to be played in Miami, was moved to Birmingham, Ala.  Florida Atlantic’s game against Wisconsin in Madison over the weekend went off as originally planned, although the Owls will be holed up on that campus indefinitely.

In addition to the FIU-Indiana game, Georgia Tech’s Week 3 game against Central Florida has already been canceled.  The Miami-Florida State game scheduled for this weekend was moved to next month over the weekend.  There’s already talk that Illinois’ game Saturday on the road against South Florida could be moved to Champaign or outright canceled, although there’s been no official word either way.

Still up in the air as well are FAU’s home game against Bethune-Cookman and Florida hosting Tennessee in Gainesville. Monday afternoon, the SEC issued a statement on the status of that latter contest.

The Southeastern Conference is in communication with the athletics departments at the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee after Hurricane Irma passed through the Gainesville area overnight and early this morning.

“Now that the storm has passed through Gainesville, the University of Florida is working with local authorities to assess the effect of the storm on the campus and the Gainesville community, at the same time ensuring the appropriate security and local officials are available to host a game,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

Hurricane Irma pushes Georgia Southern game vs. New Hampshire to Birmingham in Week 2, too

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Well, so much for completing Hurricane Irma-induced schedule changes in college football.

Wednesday evening, it was confirmed that Florida International’s game against Alcorn State, originally scheduled for Saturday in Miami, had been moved to Friday at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.  As it turns out, the home of the UAB Blazers will be taking on additional out-of-state guests this weekend as Georgia Southern announced that its game against New Hampshire has been moved to Legion Field as well.

That game will be played Saturday at 4 p.m. ET., and admission to the contest will be free of charge.

“When looking at the possibilities where we could try and play this football game, UAB and A.D. Mark Ingram reached out to us and offered us their facilities,” GSU athletic director Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “After reviewing the updated forecast, we believe the best option for ensuring this game being played is to move to Birmingham. With the developing weather situation, it was paramount to make a decision today so that we would not have to pull resources that may be used in an evacuation scenario.

“I want to thank Mark Ingram, the City of Birmingham and everyone involved in helping make this move possible. This couldn’t have been done without the flexibility of the University of New Hampshire and our staff.”

For those curious, the full-time Legion Field tenants will be playing Saturday against Ball State in Muncie, Ind.

And kudos to all involved, from the UAB football team to the city to everyone else, for taking in these teams and allowing them some semblance of normal amidst a storm of epic and historic proportions.

All told, and at least at the moment, there have been seven FBS games, including the two mentioned above, that have been impacted by Irma.

Tuesday, it was announced that the Memphis-UCF game, originally scheduled for Saturday, had been moved to Friday in Orlando ahead of the hurricane, which is expected to make landfall in the state of Florida sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  Wednesday, Miami announced that, much to the chagrin of its opponent, its game against Arkansas State in Jonesboro had been canceled and will not be rescheduled, at least not this year.

Also Wednesday, both Florida and Florida State announced that the start times for their home games against Northern Colorado and Louisiana-Monroe, respectively, have been moved up to noon ET.  Additionally, UConn confirmed that its home game against USF Saturday would be moved from a noon kickoff to 10:30 a.m. the same day in order to allow the Bulls flexibility in potentially getting home ahead of the storm.