A Jersey guy has a confession to make. He is a closet Weather Channel addict. Whenever a blizzard (not too close to home, of course) or a hurricane is developing, ESPN rock stars like Chris and Herbie and Dickie V are no match for Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams. And, a Dr. Greg Forbe analysis of a storm track wins over anything that Verne and Gary have to say about the SEC.
So when Hurricane Matthew was clearly going to track its way up the Florida coast last week, the match ups in the ACC and SEC suddenly weren't as important. But it changed when the two worlds crossed in Gainesville, Fla, where LSU was scheduled to play in a key SEC game. It was an issue in Miami where Miami and FSU were holding their annual Wide Right reunion until Matthew hit the Florida coast a few hundred miles north of Dade and Broward Counties.
Meetings were held, contingency plans were made, but in the end LSU and Florida was postponed. At the time the decision was made on Thursday, it looked like a wise move. Terms like epic storm surges and mandatory evacuations, accompanied by warnings such as "if you don't evacuate, you are going to die'' were being used.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
But Matthew took its time and made up its own mind. It just brushed the Florida Coast and meandered up from SEC to ACC territory in the Carolinas.
Another decision had to be made. Four ACC games--Syracuse at Wake Forest, Army at Duke, Virginia Tech at North Carolina and Notre Dame at North Carolina State. All were scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
The Weather Channel showed a grim scene of rain and wind and storm surges and flooding. It showed horizontal rain being whipped across North Carolina and South Carolina. It showed dangerous travel conditions.
In Florida, the Weather Channel gave us recovery and sunny skies. It showed damage and flooding along the coast, but in Gainesville, it showed a mixture of sun and clouds and... an empty stadium.
In between commercial breaks, a Jersey guy used his clicker and visited Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and saw sheets of rain and...football. Sloppy football. Mistake-driven football. It showed the crowd shots.
They were the kind of shots that television loves, football vs. the elements. Not frozen, but soggy tundra.
But then the Weather Channel showed floods throughout the state, it showed I-95, the main North-South access road, closed for awhile and then slowed to a 2 mph hour caravan of cars and trucks.
What was wrong with the pictures? Sun and no game. Hurricane conditions and four games.
The SEC, or more specifically Florida and LSU, did the right thing in postponing the game from Saturday, but they could have easily done what Georgia and South Carolina did by moving the game to Sunday afternoon.
A mistake was made by not playing LSU-Florida on Sunday.
Now the SEC office will have to solve the problem by finding a date when the game can be rescheduled. Since it is a conference game involving two contenders for the SEC title, it HAS to be played.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey will have to make that call and someone is not going to be happy. Oh, well.
The ACC office should have stepped in and postponed ALL of four of its games until Sunday afternoon. The conditions in the state on Saturday were dangerous. People could have indeed put their lives in danger by traveling.
But the games were played. It wasn't the quality football the fans deserved.
Conversely, the American Athletic Conference on Monday made a smart move by rescheduling a game on Thursday night between Navy and East Carolina in Greeneville, NC because of the potential of floods in the area.
Such moves were not made directly by the SEC and ACC.
Two leagues, two weather situations. Two wrong or bad decisions.[/membership]