SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
8/29/2006 12:13:00 PM
Recently, hurricane season has had a huge impact on the Miami-Florida State rivalry.
It wouldn't be a Miami-Florida State week without news of an impending hurricane threatening to wreak havoc on the contest. With Tropical Storm Ernesto bearing down on South Florida, the University of Miami shut itself down Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of the storm's arrival, and Athletic Director Paul Dee said he is looking into contingency plans for Monday night's game should the Orange Bowl be too damaged to play. According to reports, the possibilities include moving the game to Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa.
"We feel comfortable that things are going to be OK, but you always have to look at contingencies," Dee told the Palm Beach Post. "There has been no decision to move the game. But doing our due diligence, we want to be prepared to take the first steps to make contacts and to see about availability."
This marks the third straight year weather has played a factor in the nationally televised rivalry game. Two years ago, the game was moved from its scheduled Labor Day slot to the following Friday night due to Hurricane Frances. Sadly, two of the storm's casualties included a grandson and former son-in-law of FSU coach Bobby Bowden. The game went on as scheduled last year, but Miami's practices that week were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina (the 'Canes were affected more directly by Hurricane Rita several weeks later), and, in an unfortunate subplot, several hundred Katrina refugees were displaced from their Tallahassee hotel rooms prior to the game.
If Monday night's game is in fact affected, it will draw attention to one of the overlooked hazards of the new 12-game regular season. At a time when hurricanes are becoming more prevalent, and often striking in September, the games are now harder than ever to reschedule. Because of the ACC's conference title game, league teams have just 13 weeks to play 12 games, so the chances of two schools having a shared bye week are slim to none. The conference instituted a policy this year that requires home teams to move affected games to another venue -- even if it means losing a home date.
In the case of Miami and Florida State, this means that a game with potential conference and/or national title implications could be determined in part by circumstances having nothing to do with football. There's no question in my mind that the often wretched play in the past two Miami-FSU games was at least in part related to the logistical and emotional impacts of the hurricanes. Look at LSU's second-half collapse against Tennessee in their thrice-delayed home opener against Tennessee last year. You think those guys weren't spent by Katrina? When it comes to the 12th game, the best interest of the athletes has fallen by the wayside in schools' eternal quest for more dollars.
One has little reason to doubt that the storms affected LSU last season, however, I've not heard or read one comment from the LSU football program attributing their loss to Tennessee to the storms. The Vols came back in the second half to beat them fair and square. Lay off the cheap shots at Tennessee, you damn yankee!
as a VT fan, i have an innate dislike of both UM and FSU, but i gotta say this: it just seems wrong to have a rivalry game on the first week of the season. for alot of reasons, weather not being the least of them. when they first announced they were moving the game it seemed wrong, and it still does.
There is nothing wrong with 12 games. However, allowing schools to schedule a I-AA school in that spot is a travesty. This should only be allowable if the I-A school had to schedule such a game due to the withdrawing school's obligation to their conference. This 12th game was meant to allow top schools from top conferences to schedule games vs. their peers from a similar top conference. Too bad everyone is throwing cash at Buffalo University, Temple, Jackson State, Montana, and Northwestern State (It's in Shreveport (It's in Louisiana)), so they can get in another tune up game.
Being a uva fan, i can't stand tek, but i have to agree with the tek fan. The only reason they moved the game to labor day in the first place was b/c everyone assumes that um and fsu are far and away the best teams in the acc, and therefore the only chance to have 2 BCS teams was if the um/fsu loser had more chances to make up for their loss. Sorry. UM has a barely-.500 ACC record since joining the conference. Move it back to October! It will suck to watch if it's always each of the teams' first game.
Oh, puhlease, LSU losing because of "Katrina fatigue"? While there were some players on the team who had families displaced by the storm, the team itself was never inconvenienced, other than a cancelled game.. unless you include one player having to house Fats Domino. If you are ever going to talk about a Division 1A football team being affected by Katrina, and you haven't used the words "Tulane" or "Green Wave" in the story, you're doing nothing more than being a BCS shill for LSU. Tulane endured something I hope no team EVER has to endure again. The fact they still have football this year is beyond miraculous, given the condition, financially, of the school and the athletic department. I know some of your fellow SI.com writers have already paid tribute to Tulane in articles, but I find it a bit disturbing that the top college writer hasn't mentioned them at all since the storm hit last year. Way to go, Stuart.
Sergeant-at-arms, Stop fooling yourself. the 12th game was about universities making a moneygrab. Nothing else. As for the opening comment, I suppose if LSU blamed the loss on the storms they'd be crybabys.
John Mac, Everyone knows how much Tulane was affected. Stewart's statement was mostly directed by the fact that LSU lost the game even though it was the better team. It is not a contest about who was affected most by Katrina. However, your Greenie hate for LSU obviously has let you fail to see what LSU players went through. The team was drastically affected. Everyone was affected. LSU's campus housed a giant morgue and triage center. There were military helicopters hovering over practice and buzzing around at all hours of the day. Most players were practicing and volunteering in their limited free time. The trainer said the players on the team lost an average of 8 lbs and lost significant sleep. There was no such thing as a routine, something critical to a football team. The effect of all this was obvious in the second half, when the players appeared both physically and mentally drained. And no, I'm not making excuses for the loss.
like everyone, i'd prefer to see this game later in the season, when it would matter more. hell, if they're so concerned about how it will affect their bowl chances, why not just skip playing in the regular season period! instead of the normal offense vs. defense scrimmage in the spring, just play each other as an exhibition game. then, with the free week they have, they can schedule a powder puff team.
Hey, UVA fan quit crying about FSU and UM getting special treatment in the ACC! Maybe if UVA could feild a team that can win a league title then you wouldn't be so upset. The bottoom line is that FSU/UM is the premier game of the year because the teams are always in the title hunt. Come on UVA, you have won two games since 1992 against FSU--TWO GAMES IN 14 YEARS!!!!! We own you, GO NOLES!!!!
"The only reason they moved the game to labor day in the first place was b/c everyone assumes that um and fsu are far and away the best teams in the acc, and therefore the only chance to have 2 BCS teams was if the um/fsu loser had more chances to make up for their loss."
That's about as ignorant as it gets. They moved it to labor day due to the potential for ratings (read $$$), which happens to be higher than any game Virginia will ever play in. And you might want to check those winning % again there.
first off, as a fsu alum and miami native, i want this game to go on but not at the expense of everyones safety...if we have to drive to tampa or orlando so be it. but i think the fact that it is this game takes away from the main point: 12 games does nothing but allow 6-6 teams into bowl games and force games to be played at the given time. go back to the 11 game schedule and make everyone play real non conference games that matter and are good for football. oh, and to the idiotic UVA Wa"Who?" fan, as much as i hate miami, they are 11-5 since joining the conference, while you are the sub-par 8-8...thats why no one wants you to play showcase the first weekend of the year. boy am i glad i turned UVA down for college