With the full understanding that safety concerns for the entire state of Florida are the only real priority with Hurricane Irma bearing down for an early Sunday landfall, it’s still a surreal Saturday.
That’s because for much of the state, in advance of the Hurricane, the weather is nice on Saturday morning and will be early this afternoon. And, typically, a September Saturday would be filled with college football.
Whether it’s the Gators, the Noles, Miami, USF, UCF, etc., the games rally the fans/alumni giving them a sense of community and purpose and are a sign that football is back.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening at all on Saturday.
In advance of Irma making landfall, over six million people had already evacuated and another few million will be on Saturday.
Florida’s two legendary stadiums will be empty/silent. Ben Hill Griffin in Gainesville, which was supposed to host the Gators and Northern Colorado, and Doak Campbell, where the Seminoles were to have hosted UL-Monroe will not have games today.
The Miami Hurricanes were to have left Friday to play a game at Arkansas State, but they cancelled going to Jonesboro, Arkansas, earlier this week, as South Florida evacuations began north.
This is the first time on a second Saturday in September in the modern era of college football that those three schools together won’t play a game at all.
Meanwhile for the newer football programs, the UCF American Conference opener at Spectrum Stadium with Memphis was supposed to be Saturday night, got moved to Friday, but was cancelled all together while the Tigers were flying to Orlando Thursday night.
And, the USF Bulls were leaving for Friday for their AAC opening Saturday morning game with UConn. But, that too was cancelled out of caution and uncertainty with Irma’s track and the Tampa Bay area.
FIU did relocate from South Florida to Birmingham, played their “home game” against Alcorn State and squeaked out a 17-10 win Friday night.
And finally, FAU left Boca Raton for Wisconsin to play the Big Ten Badgers Saturday at noon in Madison, and have made the decision to stay there this weekend while Irma comes through Florida. They are the only Florida FBS program playing Saturday.
So, again. Safety first and foremost. Wind rain and possible devastation for much is the state is awful to contemplate.
But, it’s still eerie and weird to have all the stadiums empty and no state college football Saturday.