Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Florence's approach causes plethora of ACC schedule changes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — While safety concerns at Atlantic Coast Conference schools are being addressed ahead of Hurricane Florence, the storm's significant impact on this week's schedule will have a lingering effect on scheduling obstacles, monetary implications and bowl considerations once it passes.

The list of canceled games include No. 13 Virginia Tech's home game against East Carolina, No. 14 West Virginia's trip to North Carolina State and No. 18 UCF's game at North Carolina. Virginia has moved its Saturday home game against Ohio to Nashville, Tennessee, with the Category 3 storm forecast to come ashore along the Carolinas' coastline late Thursday or early Friday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain throughout the region.

The schools with canceled games left open the possibility of trying to reschedule them for later in the season, but there's no guarantee that will work.

"What's led up to this point has been the health and safety considerations, not just for the teams but the fans and the state and the region," said Michael Lipitz, North Carolina State's deputy athletic director for internal operations. "That just becomes the overriding consideration to get to this point, and so we'll deal with it. We'll deal with what's next. We'll figure it out."

There certainly aren't many easy options for rescheduling games.

The best chance would come if the teams share an off week, but that's not an option here. There's also the weekend of Dec. 1 after the scheduled completion of the regular season, though that could conflict with conference championship games.

In addition, there's the possibility of scheduling a different opponent that might also be looking to replace its own weather-impacted date, such as Nebraska and Iowa State — both of which lost Week 1 home games due to severe weather that swept through the Midwest.

"It's just a lot of moving parts and it's a lot of conversations with your counterparts around the country trying to figure out what makes the most sense for everybody," Lipitz said. "And in this circumstance, because you're already in the season, that can change week to week. It's a little different than scheduling years in advance."

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said Wednesday that adding a second off week to help deal with cancelations or postponements would be "worthy of consideration." Because as former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe put it: "There's really no wiggle room now the way the schedule is."

"You go 12 games and a (league) championship game is 13, and then you want an open date," Grobe said. "And then you've got the bowl season coming and some of those bowl games are sooner than later. ... There's a lot to think about. It's not easy. I've got a feeling that some of these games just won't be made up, you just won't be able to do it."

That could lead to other obstacles to resolve.

Start with the ECU-Virginia Tech game, which was knocked from the Saturday schedule when East Carolina announced it wouldn't travel to Blacksburg due to "significant imminent safety concerns" that included "perilous travel conditions before, during and after the storm."

Last year Florida Atlantic got stuck after a weekend game at Wisconsin and couldn't make it home for several days because of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

In a Wednesday email to The Associated Press, Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said that the cancellation or rescheduling of that game has not yet been addressed but will be "in a timely manner." The contract between the schools calls for either team, if unable to fulfill its obligation to play, to pay $250,000, and that also has not yet been addressed, Babcock said.

Teams also might ultimately need those lost games to improve their postseason positioning, too.

Look no further than last year, when Florida State's September game against Louisiana-Monroe was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The Seminoles rescheduled it for the first weekend in December, which ultimately allowed them to get to six wins and become bowl eligible for the 36th straight season.

Second-ranked Clemson's game against Georgia Southern on Saturday in Death Valley is still on, but the school announced Wednesday that it was moving up the start time from 3:30 p.m. to noon because of the storm. Like every other team in Florence's possible path, the Tigers are preparing for the game until told otherwise.

"I think we're going to play the game, so I haven't put much thought into it beyond that," coach Dabo Swinney said. "If the game time changes, then we have a plan in place for all game times. ... As far as postponing, I don't think that's going to happen. But if for some reason it did, we'd kind of move on to the next game."

___

AP Sports Writers Hank Kurz in Richmond, Virginia, and Joedy McCreary in Raleigh contributed to this report.

___

More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Comments
Manslaughter charges coming against suspect in death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan

Manslaughter charges coming against suspect in death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan

TAMPA — Police say they’re bringing manslaughter charges Tuesday in the April death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan. The suspect, 34-year-old Keith Mauga of Tampa, already is serving five years in prison for aggravated battery in an atta...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Volunteers are essential for student health screenings at Pasco schools

Volunteers are essential for student health screenings at Pasco schools

NEW PORT RICHEY — There was a beehive of activity at Anclote Elementary School last week as students lined up for health screenings in the school media center.The state-mandated screenings cover vision, hearing and body mass testing for studen...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Pasco County Tax Collector warns businesses about Marlin Financial

Pasco County Tax Collector warns businesses about Marlin Financial

The Pasco County Tax Collector’s office is issuing a warning to local auto dealers: Beware of Marlin Financial. The office will begin circulating a letter Thursday to auto dealers it does business urging them to "think long and hard" before interacti...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream look to the ’80s and classics for horror nostalgia

Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream look to the ’80s and classics for horror nostalgia

A thin guy with perfectly Purple Rain era Prince curly mullet hair, blood dripping from his mouth to the front of his puffy shirt, struts past a group of theme park guests onto the streets of "New York City."With Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam blaring in the...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
What’s that bug gunk on your car? There’s an app for that

What’s that bug gunk on your car? There’s an app for that

Florida is rich in biomass. It’s got a lot of bugs. You’re driving down the highway, and all of a sudden — splat — a bug smacks your windshield, leaving a gooey glob on the glass. That’s the end of it from the bug’...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Marreese Speights’ nephew inherits his height, but puts it to use on the gridiron

Marreese Speights’ nephew inherits his height, but puts it to use on the gridiron

ST. PETERSBURG – Percy Speights is ready to battle. With knees slightly bent and elbows instinctively deployed, the 6-foot-4 sophomore stakes out his spot, pushing and pressing until his opponent is no longer a factor.It is hard labor for the d...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A gopher tortoise has been found with pink painted nails and shell

A gopher tortoise has been found with pink painted nails and shell

Photos once again are surfacing again on social media after someone painted a gopher tortoise. In a post on its Facebook page, the non-profit Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife in Odessa showed photos of a rescued female tortoise -- which is a threate...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco, charities scramble for indigent medical aid

Pasco, charities scramble for indigent medical aid

NEW PORT RICHEY — A Pasco County contribution to provide medical care for needy people is not part of next year’s county budget.But that doesn't mean uninsured patients will go without seeing a health care provider.Here's why: The $356,...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bronze bust of Princess Ulele hauled away before dawn from Tampa Riverwalk

TAMPA — With only a moving crew as witnesses, an 1,800 pound bronze bust of Native American Princess Ulele was hoisted up and hauled away before dawn Tuesday under orders from the city of Tampa.The sculpture was installed in December on ci...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Derrick Brooks among Hall of Famers threatening to boycott induction ceremonies

Derrick Brooks among Hall of Famers threatening to boycott induction ceremonies

Former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks is among several Pro Football Hall of Famers who signed a letter Tuesday saying they would not attend the Hall's annual induction ceremony until they receive health insurance and an annual salary that includ...
Updated: 1 hour ago