Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators will not make up season opener against Idaho

Florida's Valdez Showers, left, is forced out of bounds by Idaho cornerback Jayshawn Jordan (4) and safety Bradley Njoku (2) after a 66-yard kickoff return Saturday in Gainesville. [AP photo]

Florida's Valdez Showers, left, is forced out of bounds by Idaho cornerback Jayshawn Jordan (4) and safety Bradley Njoku (2) after a 66-yard kickoff return Saturday in Gainesville. [AP photo]

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 or (813) 226-3389. Follow @TBTimes_Gators.

How to claim your refund

If you purchased tickets for the Gators game against Idaho, here is the refund procedure:

• Those who used a credit card will receive a credit by Monday.

• Those who paid with cash or a check at the Gator Ticket Office in advance of game day will receive a check by mail by Sept. 22.

• Those who paid with cash at the ticket office on game day should call toll-free 1-800-344-2867 by 5 p.m. on Sept. 30 to inquire about refund.

• Those who purchased through Ticket­master will automatically receive a refund in 7-10 days. Those who purchased through a Ticketmaster resale outlet should return to the point of purchase.

• Those who purchased through nonauthorized third parties need to contact those sources.

Florida Gators will not make up season opener against Idaho 09/03/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 10:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …