Well, this has the potential to get mildly interesting.
With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the area, the LSU-Florida game originally scheduled for Oct. 8 in Gainesville was initially postponed. A week later, the SEC announced that the game had been rescheduled for Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge after South Alabama (LSU) and Presbyterian (UF) agreed to be bought out of their respective game contracts for that date.
Some, though, initially thought that UF was looking to duck playing LSU after the latter offered to host the Gators that October weekend; play in Gainesville either Sunday or Monday; or even having the game played at a neutral site. In that vein, through a public records request, WRBZ-TV in Baton Rouge obtained interoffice emails from LSU which showed the athletic department staff, as well as regent R. Blake Chatelain, was “frustrated with the handling of the postponed football contest against Florida earlier this month.”
In particular, athletic director Joe Alleva intimated that Florida didn’t want to play, period, because it would potentially help the Gators in their divisional race.
From the television station’s report:
Although, in an exchange with Chatelain, Alleva suspected Florida knew avoiding a game with LSU secured their spot in a playoff.
“… If they lose they would lose the east. Their schedule is easier than Tennessee (sic) if they wanted to play we would be playing here or there,” Alleva wrote after Chatelain questioned why Florida would want to avoid a game with the Tigers.
Chatelain wrote, “Florida would want to play as much as us… Would they not?”
Alleva initiated the conversation with Chatelain by writing, “This is a joke” when he forwarded news of the SEC announcing the Georgia-South Carolina contest had been delayed a day for the storm.
“What a joke,” Michael Bonnette, the communications director for LSU Athletics, chimed in.
Around that time, it was thought that Florida could gain an advantage over SEC East rival Tennessee by playing one fewer conference game and potentially claiming the division and a spot in the conference championship game by virtue of a better winning percentage than UT despite losing in the head-to-head matchup. However, in announcing the rescheduled game, the SEC revealed that both LSU and Florida would have been ineligible to compete for the SEC title this season had the game not been played.