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SEC solves issue: Florida now playing AT LSU November 19th

Florida Football Insiders

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In a stunning solution to the mess created last weekend when Florida athletic officials and the SEC allowed their game with LSU to be “postponed” due to Hurricane Matthew, the game will in fact be made up. This, as Thursday afternoon, the Gators have amazingly agreed to play at LSU on November 19th.

Here is the full release from the conference:

Several key points:

One, for the Gators to give up the home game of this magnitude this year is a major concession by their leadership. And, it says to us that A.D. Jeremy Foley is being held accountable for the stance last Wednesday that the game would only be played in Gainesville and then on Thursday that it could not be played at all due to the Hurricane.

Two, the fact that Florida is also responsible for now buying out it’s opponent on November 19th, Presbyterian, and losing the estimated $2 million profit from that game is another concession.

So, obviously, the Gators made this deal happen because they were willing to concede their stance and pay the price, literally.

Third, as for LSU, they have to be privately elated. Like Victory lap type elation. Not only do they not have to play at Gainesville under this agreement for 2016, they don’t have to play at a neutral site and amazingly, they get to have the game at home. Plus, injured all world RB Leonard Fournette was not going to play last weekend and probably not this weekend either. But, all things being equal, now he has a chance to play and be effective for the November 19th, match-up. Enormous for the Tigers.

Fourth, LSU agreeing to play two straight years now, in Gainesville is unprecedented to straighten it out, but if you are them, you make this deal in 11 seconds, when it’s offered. They did.

Fifth, now the Tigers will host Florida on the week between being at Alabama and their still scheduled Thanksgiving night game at Texas A & M. They were adamant that they would play at home on November 19th, because of the two tough road games. They got their way. And, it’s still possible that Tigers/Aggies could be moved by the SEC to Saturday instead. Stay tuned on that.

Florida, by the way, is now playing at LSU (instead of easy Presbyterian at home) the week before they play at arch rival FSU. BIG deal there!

Finally, according to the SEC release, Commissioner Greg Sankey, who clearly didn’t assert himself last week and take control of when and where the game is played, now has new language that specifically allows him by rule/policy to do it.

We at F.F.I. are still puzzled why that step was necessary, because after all, Commissioners should always have authority in this situation to act in the best interest of the schools involved and the conference’s wishes. That would be why you are the Commissioner.

But, now, it’s in black and white.

Sankey and the league did include in the release that they told both Florida and LSU that they would not be eligible for the SEC Title game, if they didn’t come to the table and agree to play. Now, that’s how a commissioner uses leverage.

So get ready for a wild November, where the SEC East division title in particular, could come down to Florida having to win a home game they negotiated away to Baton Rouge.

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Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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