At the last grisly accounting, Hurricane Matthew claimed hundreds of lives in Haiti and at least 26 in the U.S. The property damage likely will reach into the billions.
Even for the SEC, doesn’t it seem just a wee bit petty to be carping over a postponed football game?
Florida canceled its Saturday home game with LSU, citing uncertainty over Matthew’s path and possible impact. That games were played in horrible conditions in North Carolina and a day later in South Carolina did not make the decision back in Gainesville appear completely necessary. And those who go looking for a conspiratorial lining in every storm cloud saw the Gators trying to duck a difficult matchup.
But … .still … it’s just a football game.
Heresy to suggest, I know.
The decision to err on the side of safety in the face of a monster storm hardly seems wrong-headed. So, everyone, take a breath. In the context of all that Matthew has wrought, a football game is not even a single uprooted tree.
That said, all the powers over at the SEC office need to broker an agreement to get this game played. Why even schedule the thing if it’s not worthy of a little inconvenience to make sure it gets played? Matchups within this mighty conference are not supposed to be as disposable as a box of tissue.
This one game holds so many possible ripple effects for those not wearing either Gator or Tiger colors.
Do Florida and LSU buy out their respective cupcakes scheduled for Nov. 19 and play each other then (my choice, not that anyone asked)? That seems reasonable enough, as the world scarcely will miss one more Florida-Presbyterian or LSU-South Alabama matchup. But, no, says LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, citing Baton Rouge’s great thirst to see the mighty Jaguars and to not sacrifice the bounty of a home game.
That scenario would have LSU playing three conference games in 12 days, unless someone would have the good sense to at least move a Thursday night meeting with Texas A&M from Thursday night back to Saturday.
Do Florida and Georgia move up their game a week (a traditional off week for both schools), allowing LSU to come in a play the Gators on Oct. 29 (now an off date for the Tigers)? Yeah, that will happen as soon as sweet tea becomes the beverage of choice in Jacksonville during Florida-Georgia week. Too much is already invested in that game at that time to change now. And Georgia already has done its share of compromising to the storm.
Or, does the SEC move Florida-LSU to the end of the season, and bump back the SEC championship game in Atlanta a week? That seems unwieldy, to keep all of college football waiting on that one, if it matters to the greater SEC by then. Besides, Atlanta can’t afford any negative impact on that game. We need every penny of the tourist tax money to pay for that fancy new place next to the Dome.
Or, barring any agreement, do they just call off the whole thing? In order to compensate for any funky math that would come up with Florida and LSU playing one less conference game than anyone else, Alleva suggested determining champions merely by their division records.
It’s all quite a mess. But let’s keep in mind, please, that it is one of the more minor messes left behind by this particular storm.