Monday, December 18, 2017
Colleges

Florida Gators will not make up season opener against Idaho

GAINESVILLE — For Florida, it was one night, one missed game and one spectacular lightning show, but for the season as a whole, it might have one big impact.

Florida and Idaho officials had consulted since Saturday about the scheduled season opener they were unable to play because a thunderstorm created unplayable conditions. They finally decided Wednesday that the game would be "no contest," leaving the schools with 11 games.

That could have ramifications for the schools' bowl eligibility and a well-known coach on the proverbial hot seat, though the athletic budgets seem to be protected by contracts and insurance.

The two schools agreed to play a game sometime in 2017, which will be held in Gainesville.

"We looked at a number of options and, in the end, we both thought it was in the best interest of our student-athletes and football programs to play out the remainder of our respective schedules as they stand," UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Fans who purchased tickets to the Idaho game will receive a full refund. The University Athletic Association will fulfill the terms of the contract, which means the Vandals will receive their $975,000 guarantee by Feb. 1. The Gators expect to recover refunded ticket revenue through insurance.

"I want to thank UF, especially AD Jeremy Foley, for the professional and first-class way they worked through this issue and the focus on student-athlete welfare," Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said. "It was not in our best interest to play 10 consecutive weeks without a bye week. We look forward to our return to Florida in 2017."

Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff was delayed by nearly three hours amid a reported 1,100 lightning strikes. The game was eventually suspended after athletic officials from both schools and game officials determined the field was unsafe for play.

At one point, standing water covered large portions of the field.

The game kicked off at 9:48 p.m. — and lasted exactly one play — before more lightning forced another suspension and, subsequently, the game was called.

The Gators and Vandals each have an open week on Oct. 25, but it's one week before the annual Florida-Georgia game and, for the Gators, there was no value in losing that off week. Idaho coach Paul Petrino said Monday that he also did not favor losing his team's bye week, and he suggested the two schools might play in December.

"Like all Gators, I wish we could have played the game Saturday night, but I support the decision made by both athletic directors," said Florida coach Will Muschamp, who is trying to recover from a 4-8 season that caused many to believe he needs a strong year to keep his job. "Our focus is getting our players and team ready for Eastern Michigan."

Florida players said their greatest disappointment was not being able to play Saturday night. With the decision made, they don't have to worry about what might happen, and said they feel free to move on to the next opponent.

"It really doesn't matter," junior defensive end Dante Fowler said. "Going into the season when you start getting things rolling you don't think about that anymore. That was last week."

"I would have liked to play it when it was scheduled," senior linebacker Mike Taylor said. "But as our coaches said, we don't want to risk a bye going into a game (Georgia) that will be very big towards our season and for what we want to do and accomplish with this year."

Contact Antonya English at [email protected] or (813) 226-3389. Follow @TBTimes_Gators.

Comments
No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

No. 22 Gators, No. 19 Seminoles fall in Orange Bowl Classic games

SUNRISE — Marcquise Reed threw a 75-foot pass to Elijah Thomas for a dunk that put Clemson ahead to stay with 37 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half Saturday to beat No. 22 Florida 71-69 in the Orange Bowl ...
Published: 12/16/17

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Published: 12/14/17
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Published: 12/14/17
Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

Gators crash volleyball power party, play national semifinal Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s difficult to call a volleyball program that has been to the Final Four eight times an underdog, especially the way Florida rallied to beat Southern California and punch its latest ticket. Yet of the four schools descending on ...
Published: 12/13/17
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17