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.