With Hurricane Matthew making its way up Florida’s coast, the SEC ultimately decided it best to postpone this weekend’s Florida-LSU game in Gainesville. Because the two teams do not have any overlapping bye weeks the rest of the year, rescheduling the game was expected to be a difficult task. LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva says it will be “very difficult.”
“No, I think it’s going to be very difficult,” Alleva said in a radio interview. “The scenarios down the road would require some serious changes in schedule.”
There appear to be a few scenarios that could be possible. First would have been to schedule the game for November 19. Florida is scheduled to host Presbyterian while LSU is hosting South Alabama. Offering South Alabama and Presbyterian a nice check would have to be involved in order to reschedule the game for that day (and South Alabama and Presbyterian could just play each other if they wanted), but there could be some misleading information to how feasible that may be.
Alleva ripped a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com stating Florida offered that scenario before being turned down by LSU.
“That’s a flat out lie,” Alleva said in response to that report. “It’s a perfect example of terrible journalism. He didn’t call me, he didn’t call Michael Bonnette. He tweeted out that garbage.”
McMuprhy actually has a pretty solid reputation with his Twitter reporting, but we’ll move on.
Another scenario could be to play the game over conference championship weekend, assuming neither Florida nor LSU are in the SEC championship game of course. The other scenario, which appears to be the likely option, is the game will simply be canceled for good. We’ll see if they can figure this one out, but just a reminder to you all that scheduling in college football is hard!
LSU athletics director Joe Alleva has said pretty sternly there is not a chance LSU will play a game on Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving? Well that sounds liek a different story.
Appearing as a guest on the Paul Finebaum Show on ESPN Radio Friday afternoon, with Tony Barnhart sitting in as a guest host, Alleva said LSU would be willing to play Texas A&M the day after Thanksgiving.
“The reason I said that is not necessarily because it’s a Thursday night game, but it’s Thanksgiving Thursday night and I’m opposed to playing a game on Thanksgiving Day inside the stadium. In my opinion it’s a time when our families need to be with their families and give thanks for all the blessings they have, take a day off and get ready for Friday or Saturday night inside the stadium.”
Asked if that meant LSU would play Texas A&M on a Friday in Tiger Stadium, Alleva said “Yeah, we would play on a Friday, hopefully at night.” Alleva went on to say LSU prefers to play games at night, which he had previously gone on record saying. Alleva also
Alleva, who said this week non-conference opponents from power conferences are scared to schedule a road game in Tiger Stadium, also suggested the chances the SEC would ever move to a nine-game conference schedule are still slim.
“I hope we don’t get to that, but we’ll see,” Alleva said to Barnhart. “We may get to that at some point. My personal opinion is this league is very tough and we don’t need to make it tougher by playing another family member in the league and beating each other up more than we already do.”
The SEC has stuck with an eight-game conference schedule despite having 14 members. Each school has a locked in crossover opponent (LSU is paired with Florida), and the SEC will begin requiring each member to schedule one non-conference game against an opponent from a power conference. Notre Dame, BYU and Army will count toward satisfying that non-conference scheduling requirement. Alleva has been vocal with his thoughts against the current SEC scheduling model.
Colossal non-conference college football games these days tend to be played on neutral fields more often than in a college venue, and there does not appear to be any slowing down of this trend in the coming years. If LSU is going to sign up for a marquee non-conference game, you can pretty much forget about it being played in Tiger Stadium. Non-conference opponents are scared to make the trip to Baton Rouge, according to LSU athletics director Joe Alleva.
“Literally 80 percent just say ‘no’ right away” Alleva said Tuesday morning on 104.5 FM ESPN’s Culotta & The Prince radio show (as transcribed by The Advocate). “They’re a little more open to the so-called neutral-site game. That’s why we were able to attract a Wisconsin, a TCU … BYU in the future.”
LSU will open the 2016 season against Wisconsin in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Tigers will open the 2017 season in Houston against BYU. TCU does not currently appear on the future schedules for LSU, according to FBSchedules.com, but LSU did open the 2013 season against the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas to pick up its 42nd straight non-conference regular season victory. LSU will be back in Arlington when it takes on Miami in the 2018 season opener.
“Teams don’t want to come to Tiger Stadium and get their butts beat,” Alleva suggested. “That’s just a fact of life. I’m being as blunt as I can be…they don’t want to schedule losses.”
LSU actually has a handful of future home-and-home series lined up against power conference opponents that will not take place on neutral fields. Texas (2020), Arizona State (2023), UCLA (2024) and Oklahoma (2028) are all scheduled to visit Tiger Stadium. It is also not necessarily that schools are afraid to schedule a loss on the road as much as it is getting LSU to agree to a second game on the road. There is some give-and-take when it comes to scheduling, and getting a certain number of home games for each power conference opponent is a challenge as much as it can be a necessity.
The SEC prohibits all conference members from selling beer to fans, but LSU has been discussing the possibility of selling beer at football games for months. Now LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva says it could be a reality fairly soon.
“As we talk about the fan experience, which is very important, I think there may come a day that we may sell beer at college events at LSU,” Alleva said while addressing an alumni group Monday, according to USA Today. “I think at some point — I don’t know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now — but I think at some point, I think it’s going to happen.”
Alleva has said before that selling beer would enhance the fan experience at a time when schools around the country continue to look for ways to make for a better game day experience inside the stadium.
The SEC does allow the selling of wine in club seats but the taps to distribute beer to fans in the stands remains cut off. Alleva made note of the studies regarding beer sales at West Virginia, which suggest alcohol-related arrests have gone down since beer sales were introduced in recent years.
“I just think it’s something that we have to study and look at in the future,” Alleva said. “You never say never. I think there’s a possibility that could happen.”
Arkansas has expressed an interest in selling beer but beer sales at the annual Florida-Georgia game remains unlikely.
Minnesota experimented with beer sales and would like to continue with it. Beer sales at Michigan and Ohio State also seem to be off the drink menu.
Texas A&M is entering year three in the SEC this fall, which means head coach Kevin Sumlin is still playing the role of the new kid on the block. When the SEC announced earlier this week it will continue with an eight-game conference schedule with protected cross-division match-ups, Sumlin did not feel a need to have much of a reaction.
“It doesn’t really matter what I want,” Sumlin said during a coaches conference call Wednesday. “I learned that quick.”
Texas A&M is paired with South Carolina in the cross division games, with the Aggies and Gamecocks paired despite having no real history against each other the way other pairings such as Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia have. Why couldn’t the SEC at least pair Texas A&M and Missouri, both having joined the conference from the Big 12 a couple of years ago?
“We’re the new guys in the league,” Sumlin said. “I just kind of listen and see what happens. Whatever happens, happens and we play it.”
Sumlin has been able to do plenty of listening this week. LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva voiced his displeasure with the new scheduling policy, as did LSU head coach Les Miles. Even Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson made a crack on the new schedule policy.
“For me, after listening to other programs and the commissioner, there’s a lot of tradition in the league that would have had to change,” Sumlin continued. “We didn’t really have a dog in that fight as far as long-standing cross-over rivalries.”
New traditions will come over time of course. The Aggies have some good history already with division rivals Arkansas, LSU and Alabama, so all is not a lost cause.