Hurricane Harvey has brought damaging winds and massive flooding to the Houston metropolitan area since last week, and has caused one of the bigger matchups of Week 1 to find a new location.
The AdvoCare Texas Kickoff between No. 13 LSU and BYU, originally scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, will be moved to the same time at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, ESPN announced on Monday.
"First and foremost, we are keeping the citizens of the Houston region, and the thousands of first responders, in our thoughts during this very difficult time," said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and events. "Over the last 72 hours, we have been in constant contact with all entities involved, including our partners at the Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, the SEC and both institutions. Ultimately, the decision was made to move forward with the relocation."
LSU AD Joe Alleva was perfectly fine with the decision.
"ESPN had to make a difficult decision and we are well aware of the awful circumstance that led to this move," Alleva said. "Every storm is different, but we in Louisiana understand a little about what all of those in Harvey's path are going through right now. It's heartbreaking and our prayers go out to all who are impacted."
LSU is no stranger to weather changing plans of scheduled games. The Tigers hosted South Carolina in 2015 after flooding made it impossible to play it in Columbia, South Carolina. Last season, the Tigers game vs. Florida was postponed and then moved to Baton Rouge because of Hurricane Matthew.
"During the last few days, we were overwhelmed with the outreach by the communities offering to host this event, specifically, Dallas, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando and San Antonio," Derzis said. "We have great partners within those cities through the Football Bowl Association and we appreciate their energy in finding a solution."
BYU already has a game under its belt, after topping Portland State 20-6 on Saturday.
"We are sorry for the disruption to BYU fans who purchased tickets and made travel plans for Houston," said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. "We hope many of you will be able to make necessary changes to join us in New Orleans to cheer on the Cougars. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people in South Texas who are currently facing the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey."
Ticket information will be made available at the game's website soon, officials announced. LSU announced that tickets purchased through its ticket office will be refunded, and the school will work in conjunction with AdvoCare Texas Kickoff officials to set up a purchasing structure for the event.