Hurricane Irma is a really big and really powerful storm. It’s currently barreling down on the state of Florida:
This thing is not to be played around with. It’s projected to make landfall in Florida early Sunday morning, and Monroe County (Florida Keys) is already ordering evacuation for visitors to the area.
This is the second week in a row that the college football schedule has been impacted by severe storms. Last week, Hurricane Harvey displaced Texas residents, forcing LSU and BYU to move the season opener from Houston to New Orleans in a matter of days. Rice had trouble getting back to Houston from Australia. Other games were postponed in the Houston area.
Part of the issue with holding football games in the state of Florida this weekend is that, especially in South Florida, resources needed to host an event with tens of thousands of people — like police and other emergency services — will be devoted elsewhere.
The state has not seen a storm anywhere close to this magnitude make direct landfall since 2005, and contingency plans are in place for how universities and college football programs will deal with the storm if it does indeed continue on its track.
The Noles are scheduled to return home and play ULM in Tallahassee. The storm’s scheduled to hit South Florida early Sunday, and if it does it’ll be a Week 3 home date with Miami that will have to be assessed.
For now, the Gators are taking a wait-and-see approach. In a statement Tuesday, a spokesman said:
“We continue working with university and government officials to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma and determine the impact of the storm on our events in Gainesville this weekend,” said Steve McClain, Florida’s senior associate athletic director for communications. “Additionally, we are communicating with the Southeastern Conference office and keeping them updated.”
The Knights have already pre-emptively struck. They’ve moved their game against Memphis to Friday.
All three of these teams are on the road this weekend. Their primary concern will be attempting to travel back from their road game destinations.
As for preparations being made on the home front: Classes at Miami are already canceled for the rest of the week:
The Panthers are also using caution for now. A decision is expected from the school regarding campus closings by the end of Thursday. The Panthers are scheduled to host Alcorn State at home Saturday night.
We’ve got multiple Florida natives on staff here at SB Nation (myself included). We feel for you, and we’ll be keeping this post updated all week long as new storm tracking info develops.