It seems like every September, sports in the South has to deal with some form of weather emergency. This one is worse because Hurricane Irma is a category 5 storm. And just about every football team in Florida is affected.
Start with the Bucs. They, the Dolphins, and the NFL decided that there would be no game in Miami Sunday because of the approaching hurricane. And they decided not to play the game at a neutral site, but rather play it in week 11, Nov. 19, which was the bye week for both teams.
It means the Bucs and Dolphins will lose their bye week... this week is now their bye week.. and will have to play 16 straight weeks in the regular season.
“It is nice to have clarity more than anything else,” Bucs’ Head Coach Dirk Koetter said after hearing the news Wednesday. “The number-one thing any of us should be thinking about is the safety of everyone involved, not just our people but everybody’s families and the communities. This is a natural disaster. Football takes a backseat to all of that.”
College football in Florida is changing start times. Just Wednesday, the USF Bulls announced their kick off Saturday at UConn in the conference opener, has been moved up to 10:30 am from the previous noon kickoff. This enables the game to be played, and the Bulls traveling party to safely return to Tampa before the storm hits.
The Florida Gators moved the start time of their home opener with Northern Colorado Saturday, from 7:30 pm to 12noon, for the same reason.. so players, coaches, fans, staff, and game personnel can get home safely after the game. It won’t be televised, but rather streamed exclusively on SEC Network + and the ESPN App.
Likewise, the Florida State Seminoles moved the kickoff of their home opener Saturday, with Louisiana Monroe, from 7 pm to 12noon. This will enable Seminole fans time to get home, and also give the ULM people enough opportunity to get on their charter and return home.
However, the Miami Hurricanes game Saturday at Arkansas State has been canceled and not rescheduled. The university did not want to risk a return trip Saturday night and potentially flying into the storm. And with so many players from Florida, school officials acknowledged that they would be thinking more about their families than football, with a dangerous storm barreling toward their home.
The Rays will board their charter for Boston on Friday, rather than late Thursday, so players can spend more time with their families preparing for Irma. The return trip to Tampa Sunday night could be affected depending on the location of the storm.
Cover Photo courtesy of Pixabay