For the first time since 2004 the Florida Gators football team had a game canceled due to weather. Much like in 2004, the Gators will instead kick their season off with Eastern Michigan in the second week of the scheduled season.
But what about Idaho? In 2004, the Gators had advanced warning with Hurricane Frances barreling down the state of Florida. They were able to cancel the game ahead of time and reschedule it to October 16, the week before Ron Zook would lose to Mississippi State — the final straw that broke the camel’s back and ended his tenure as the head coach at Florida.
Florida has a mutual bye week with Idaho, which would create a date where the game from last Saturday could be made up. It does come with a caveat. Florida plays Georgia the following week and the Bulldogs have a bye week to prepare for Florida.
“I think both teams have a bye week so it’s important for both teams,” Will Muschamp said.
In the world of college football there isn’t an easy resolution. A lot of fans wondered why the game couldn’t have just been played on Sunday. Playing on Sunday would have been a logistical nightmare for both parties. Where would Idaho stay? How would you staff the game on less than 24 hours notice and have security, vendors, and television personnel all ready to go on Sunday? Putting on a college football game is a production and a complex one at that.
“When we have the answers we’ll give them to you,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “There’s just a lot of different moving parts there.”
With all of that being said there are, obviously, no easy resolutions in this situation. Foley met with officials from Florida this morning to discuss possible scenarios. The Vandals were scheduled to make $975,000 for traveling nearly 3,000 miles to play the Gators. That guarantee money is a big part of the discussions that Florida and Idaho will have but it isn’t a pressing issue.
“All of our guarantees are due our opponents February 1st of the following season,” Foley said. “That’s when we’ll pay Georgia. That’s when we’ll pay every team that comes in here. That’s standard language in our contract.”
While the schools will have time to figure out the money issue, they need to figure out if the actual game will be played. The holiday on Monday hasn’t helped the conversation continue and as of Monday the two schools were not close to coming to a conclusion. That conclusion will also need to include how to reimburse fans who traveled down to Gainesville for the game and fans who purchased tickets to the home opener.
“There’s a lot of things that go into football scheduling and what’s in the best interest of your football team and your fans and the entire program,” Foley said. “That’s how I work things around here, I like to get a lot of input from a lot of different people and then make a decision. That’s what we’re in the process of doing right now.”