With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the state of Florida, the decision was made to postpone Saturday's game between LSU and Florida in Gainesville. The SEC will work to reschedule the game for a future date if possible.
"We had a very productive phone call today with a great spirit of cooperation between the universities' presidents and athletics directors and it became clear that the University of Florida could neither host nor travel to a game this weekend considering the circumstances," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "The developments of the hurricane in the last 24 hours, the projected magnitude of its impact and the unknown aftermath of this storm have resulted in this decision to seek another date to play the LSU-Florida game. We have to be sensitive to the possible imminent disruption to the state of Florida and in particular the Gainesville and surrounding area."
The SEC, LSU and Florida discussed other options for the game, including playing the game at an alternate site or in Baton Rouge, but decided it was in the best interest of all parties to postpone the game.
As for the possibility of the game being played later in the season, the two teams have different bye weeks (Florida on Oct. 22, LSU on Oct. 29), but could potentially work on buyout options for their respective Nov. 19 nonconference games with Presbyterian and South Alabama to play the conference game instead.
While that seems like the most likely option, another possible alternative would be to play the game on Dec. 3 (the same day as the SEC Championship Game) or Dec. 10 (the week after) depending where the two teams are in the standings.
The SEC has also said it will consider moving "other games on the schools' schedules" in an attempt to make Florida-LSU happen. The league says a conference game has never before been canceled due to natural causes.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a press conference that the Gators are "100 percent committed to any scenario" in which they can play the Tigers, noting that "we want to play a football game." Furthermore, he said UF going to Baton Rouge was not an option for the same reasons -- buses, gas, security, safety -- that LSU is not going to be driving to Gainesville.
If the game is unable to be played at a later date, it will be the second year in a row that LSU has had a game cancelled due to severe weather. Last season, the Tigers' opener against McNeese State was cancelled and not made up. It will be the second time in the last three years that Florida has seen a game cancelled as the 2014 season opener against Idaho was called off due to lightning.