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Florida State cancels Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe

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There were a handful of FBS games heading into Week 2 scheduled to be played by teams hailing from the state of Florida.  With Hurricane Irma barreling toward the state and threatening historic destruction, there’s now just two.

Florida State announced late Thursday night that all athletic events, including the home football opener against Louisiana-Monroe scheduled for Saturday, have been canceled.  It had previously been announced that the start time of that game had been moved up to noon ET the same day.

“In the interest of safety of individuals throughout the state, and to allow our student-athletes, staff and fans to prepare for a storm of significant magnitude, we have decided to cancel all athletics events including the ULM football game on Saturday,” said FSU president John Thrasher in a statement. “The cancellations will help reduce the consumption of fuel and congestion on major travel arteries.”

“This is a wise decision made for the safety of all involved,” said athletic director Stan Wilcox.

“With Florida currently under a government state of emergency and the need to dedicate all resources to the evacuation effort we felt this was the best decision for everyone. All relocation and rescheduling possibilities were exhausted. Under these circumstances and on such short notice, the two teams will not be able to reschedule this year as there is no common open date.

Earlier in the day, Florida announced that its Saturday game against FCS Northern Colorado in Gainesville, which had also been moved up to a noon ET start time initially, had been canceled.  Additionally, Florida International’s home game against Alcorn State, originally scheduled to be played in Miami, has been moved to Birmingham, Ala.; Miami’s game against Arkansas State in Jonesboro was canceled; and South Florida’s game Syracuse was scrubbed as well.

Just two games involving an FBS team from Florida will be played this weekend — UCF, hosting Memphis, and Florida Atlantic at Wisconsin.  And even the former game was moved from Saturday to Friday in order to allow both teams to either vacate the state or brace itself for the most massive storm in recorded history to wreak havoc.

Of course, football doesn’t matter much in the here and now.  Be safe, Florida.  And, for those who are so inclined, say a prayer or two for those who are bracing for the worst and hoping — and praying — for the best.

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.

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.”

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Alabama RB Derrick Gore transfers to ULM

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It seems to happen every now and then, but Alabama is losing a running back to a transfer this spring. Derrick Gore, a redshirt junior, is transferring to Louisiana-Monroe to continue his college football career, as reported by The News-Star.

Gore will be given a better chance to compete for a significant role in ULM’s offense as he gets out from the deep running back stable at Alabama that makes it difficult to get everyone involved. Gore had played a reserve role on offense behind the likes of Derrick Henry, Bo Scarbrough and Kenyan Drake at a position that is generally stacked for the Crimson Tide. Gore did find a role for himself on special teams. Gore blocked a punt against Florida in the SEC Championship Game last December and returned it for a touchdown. He was a walk-on at Alabama.

Gore will be eligible immediately to play for ULM starting this fall and will have two years of eligibility to use with the Warhawks.