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Florida International completes CFB schedule changes by moving game to Birmingham as result of Hurricane Irma

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With Hurricane Irma rapidly approaching the Florida coast this week, the final piece of the puzzle in the state’s football scheduling conundrum fell into place on Wednesday afternoon when it was announced that Florida International’s game against Alcorn State is being moved to Birmingham, Alabama.

Kickoff is slated to be Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with the Panthers serving as the home team at UAB’s Legion Field.

“We have decided to relocate a number of our teams to Birmingham, Alabama,” said FIU AD Pete Garcia said in a statement. “I want to thank UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram, the University of Alabama Birmingham and the Birmingham community for their tremendous help and assistance. The UAB family has gone above-and-beyond to make us feel welcome.”

With the announcement that FIU’s game is being moved, that just about completes the rash of rescheduled and cancelled games from the teams in the Sunshine state. To recap:

— Miami cancelled their game at Arkansas State on Saturday and will not make it up.

— Florida State announced their contest against Louisiana-Monroe will take place in Tallahassee on Saturday, but has been moved up to a noon ET start time.

— Florida is also moving up their home opener to noon ET, against Northern Colorado.

— South Florida will play at UConn on Saturday, but the game has been moved to a 10:30 a.m. ET kickoff.

— Florida Atlantic remains set to play at Wisconsin as scheduled, though getting home appears to be the biggest challenge for Lane Kiffin’s Owls.

— The NFL also announced Wednesday that Sunday’s regular season opener for the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Bucs will be moved to Nov. 19.

Arkansas St. statement indicates Miami had option to play Friday night, chose not to travel

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Wednesday morning, Miami announced that, because of Hurricane Irma, its game against Arkansas State in Jonesboro had been canceled and, because the teams don’t share a bye week the remainder of the season, won’t be made up this year.  During a radio interview, athletic director Blake James indicated that ASU was “frustrated” by the decision to cancel.

A statement from James’ counterpart released a short time later publicly confirmed said frustration.

According to ASU AD Terry Mohajir, the pertinent parties involved, including the Sun Belt Conference office and ESPN, which was broadcasting the game, gave the two schools “the option to move the game and broadcast to Friday night, which gave the University of Miami an alternative.” “Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel,” Mohajir added.

Below is the statement, in its entirety:

Having lived in Palm Beach County for seven years, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in South Florida as they prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Over the past 24 hours I had numerous exchanges with University of Miami Athletics Director Blake James, offering to make additional accommodations for his players and program to assist them with their trip to Memphis and Jonesboro. This morning I spoke with Blake (James), who informed me their team will not be making the trip to Jonesboro to play in our game this Saturday.

I appreciate the Sun Belt Conference office, Commissioner Karl Benson and ESPN’s work to give us the option to move the game and broadcast to Friday night, which gave the University of Miami an alternative. Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel.

We are currently working through all the variables associated with the game not being played. We will keep the fan base and media updated as we know more.

While the frustration is understandable — this would’ve been the biggest home football game in the university’s history — it pales in comparison to what the people of South Florida are preparing to go through as Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that’s one of the largest in recorded history, is expected to make landfall this weekend.  Some perspective through the frustration is certainly in order.  After all, it’s just a football game, regardless of how big of one it is from your end of the lens.

Miami-Arkansas State cancelled because of Hurricane Irma, won’t be rescheduled this season

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The threat posed by Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm barreling toward Florida, prompted UCF to push its home game with Memphis up on the schedule, from Saturday to Friday.  Today brings word that another game has been pushed off the schedule completely.

Miami announced Wednesday that its game at Arkansas State, along with all other athletic events, has been canceled.  And, because there are no mutual bye weeks moving forward, the game will not be rescheduled, at least this season.

While the hurricane is expected to have minimal impact on the state of Arkansas, the concern for UM was getting back to South Florida from Jonesboro as Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, is expected to make landfall in their area this weekend.

“The decision to cancel these athletic contests is difficult, especially as some are scheduled to take place away from Miami,” a statement from UM athletic director Blake James began. “However, we made the collective decision that we simply cannot put our student-athletes, coaches and staff in danger traveling to and from contests. As we have seen from the tragic impact of Hurricane Harvey—and from South Florida’s own experiences—the impacts of hurricanes can be devastating and long-lasting, and can make travel extremely difficult and dangerous.

“I want to thank all of our opponents for their cooperation and understanding. Our thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma both here in South Florida and afar. We are comforted in knowing that our community is strong and will come together, if needed, to recover from the storm.”

As for other Irma-related developments, it was reported overnight that Florida International’s game against Alcorn State will not be played at Miami’s Riccardo Silva Stadium.  To where the game will be moved, or if it’s even played, remains to be seen as the school has made no official announcement one way or the other.

There’s also the possibility that Florida State’s game against Louisiana-Monroe, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Tallahassee Saturday night, could be moved to noon that day.

UPDATED 10:24 a.m. ET: Florida State did indeed announce Wednesday morning that its game against Louisiana-Monroe in Tallahassee Saturday has been moved from 7 ET to noon ET.

“We have moved the game time after consulting with a number of state agencies and based on the information we have on the potential impact on the state,” said FSU president John Thrasher in a statement. “The earlier start will give ULM the opportunity to travel safely after the game, and provide many of our fans a chance to come to the game and return home in time to make any necessary preparations.”

Miami AD says school ‘monitoring Hurricane Irma;’ Memphis-UCF game could be moved up

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For the second straight, a major weather event could have an impact on the college football schedule.

Last week, Hurricane Harvey pounded Southern Texas in a storm of epic proportions that forced several games, including BYU-LSU from Houston to New Orleans, to be either moved or postponed.  Several days ago, Hurricane Irma formed in the Atlantic Ocean and, as it barrels toward the Caribbean Islands, is now a Category 5 storm and one of the largest in history.

The latest projections have Irma having a heavy impact on South Florida by Sunday. It’s also possible that Georgia, the Carolinas or “even sweep the eastern Gulf of Mexico,” USA Today wrote. Several games could be impacted by the storm and its aftermath, including Louisville at North Carolina, Northwestern at Duke, Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State and Memphis at UCF. There’s a possibility that the latter game, scheduled for Saturday, could be moved to Friday or even Thursday.

That decision is expected to come at some point today.

Florida International is scheduled to play host to Alcorn State Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.  That game could either be moved to another day or rescheduled.

Additionally, Miami will travel to play Arkansas State Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro. Right now, the game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 ET; in a statement, Miami athletic director Blake James that he and his department “are monitoring” the storm ahead of the game and “are working through possible scenarios.”

Below is James’ statement, in its entirety:

We are monitoring Hurricane Irma, and right now it is too early to make any determination in regards to our scheduled events this week. We are working through all possible scenarios, and obviously any decision we make will be in the best interests, safety and well-being of our staff, coaches, student-athletes and their families

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson tweets wife is cancer free

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Arkansas State starts the season on Saturday at Nebraska but as much as the team has been thinking about the Cornhuskers lately, the thoughts around the program have also been centered on Wendy Anderson.

The wife of Red Wolves head coach Blake Anderson, Wendy was diagnosed in the spring with breast cancer and has been undergoing treatment ever since — including a somewhat sudden surgery earlier this week. While the Andersons have been shuttling back-and-forth between Jonesboro for practice and doctors appointments, the coach announced some really good news on Twitter Thursday afternoon that counts as the first win of the season for everybody at ASU.

Terrific news for Wendy and the entire Anderson family on defeating the biggest opponent they’ll face this year.