LSU-Florida was scheduled for this past weekend in Gainesville. The Gators postponed it because of Hurricane Matthew. And then, after a full week of hollerin', the SEC announced the two will play in Baton Rouge on Nov. 19. The conference will help Florida and LSU buy out the contracts with their previously scheduled opponents (Presbyterian and South Alabama, respectively).
The interim head coach who's currently auditioning for his lifelong dream job will need every big win he can, in order to keep this job for 2017 and onward. And he knows it:
This is the greatest eight-game audition a college football coach has ever had, with four of the remaining seven regular season opponents ranked in the current S&P+ top 10 (Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, and Ole Miss).
And it was Orgeron who had the previous greatest eight-game audition ever [at USC].
"I know!" he says, laughing.
"I do know. I get it. But I do believe this: Things are going to happen the way they're supposed to. I think that powers that be are very interested in us. I believe that if we do our due diligence, meaning that the team performs at its best, I think things will turn out very positive for us.
The Gators are back on the schedule and will be favored to win every game between now and Nov. 19, meaning Orgeron will have a chance to beat a UF that has an even better record and ranking. Plus, the game being in Baton Rouge could swing favored status; S&P+ picked the Gators in Gainesville by 3.6 points, but Bill Connelly says it would take the Tigers in Baton Rouge right now by about 3.2.
If you're Coach O right now, you're not worried about a possible home loss taking the place of Presbyterian. You're celebrating another chance to impress.
The greater LSU community
A portion of Baton Rouge is still displaced by flooding and emotionally flattened by shootings, police protests, state budget woes, and the death of their live mascot.
Economic impact studies are built on crappy and dubious math. But you can always ask the locals.
"I'd say for restaurants like ours in the community, it's upwards of a $100,000 loss in sales compared to a normal Friday through Sunday," said Ruffin Rodrigue, a former LSU player and owner of Ruffino's restaurant in Baton Rouge.
"Of that number, a lot of that is money going directly to our employees, most of whom are coming off the flood. We're trying to catch up right now. This is the last home game of the season. It's senior night. That means it's a homecoming for a lot of fans and families."
His Ruffino's location took on no water in the flood, but the Lafayette location did. A 9 p.m. post-flood curfew killed business across the city for almost a month.
"We were open for those three weeks, but no one could get here. The streets were flooded. Our sales went down 80 percent. But hey, still gotta pay your taxes and insurance, except there's no cash coming in. So, everyone got really, really hurt. We need these home games to make good," Rodrigue said.
"These home games are critical to getting our head above water, so to speak."
The SEC's TV partners
Here's what the conference's Nov. 19 schedule was going to look like until it gained this game:
- FCS Chattanooga at Alabama
- FCS Alabama A&M at Auburn
- FCS Presbyterian at Florida
- UL Lafayette at Georgia
- FCS Austin Peay at Kentucky
- South Alabama at LSU
- Arkansas at Mississippi State
- FCS Western Carolina at South Carolina
- Missouri at Tennessee
- UTSA at Texas A&M
- Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Unless something unique went on with the contracts in the background, CBS will almost certainly take Florida-LSU with its weekly first pick. This still improves ESPN's depth for that Saturday, because it'll gain whichever game CBS would've taken.
Presbyterian and South Alabama players won't have to go up against 320-pound four-stars, and their universities should come out of this making even more money anyway, since the two schools will get their SEC payouts and now they've agreed to play each other since they have a coincidental open date on their schedule.
.@JagsFootball To Host Presbyterian On Nov. 19 #JagNation #WeAreSouth https://t.co/vhrxPAxQpq— USA Jaguar Athletics (@USAJaguarSports) October 15, 2016
"I want to give credit to the University of Florida for making concessions to move this year's game to Baton Rouge," said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement.
Throughout, Florida and LSU disagreed on exactly what each other proposed and rejected. The Tiger side says LSU offered multiple dates in the original weekend and multiple venues, all of which UF rejected. The Gators claim LSU offered less flexibility than it might appear.
The Gators ended up losing two home games, LSU and Presbyterian, and adding a tough road game the week before the trip to Florida State. (The Tigers also lose their November breather week, but the Gators have higher hopes of a division title here.) Florida will get the Tigers at home next year, thus getting the annual series back in order, but still.
"The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions."--Jeremy Foley— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) October 13, 2016
The two lost #Gators home games were projected to yield 7.8 million in ticket-related revenue, per a UF spokesperson.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) October 13, 2016
Your Florida #Gators season tickets earned you admission to:— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) October 13, 2016
- North Texas
- South Carolina
Fans will be refunded for those tickets, if not the donations required to buy those tickets.
This does, however, show the fallacy in the popular internet idea that the Gators were just scared to play a conference opponent.
This could also mean a healthier quarterback situation. UF's Luke Del Rio was expected to play against LSU after injuring his knee, but there was no guarantee.
As SB Nation's Steven Godfrey has pointed out, it's hard to imagine Big 12-esque drama happening under previous commissioner Mike Slive. Sankey took a stand in his Thursday statement almost exactly a week after the postponement ...
The Presidents and Chancellors have established the expectation for existing Conference policy to be revised to better define the process for completing postponed or interrupted contests and to grant authority to the Commissioner to determine the date and location of future games that may need to be rescheduled if the two involved institutions cannot mutually identify a date.
"It was important for us to come to a resolution. Each university had its own set of concerns throughout this process, however existing SEC regulations did not provide an avenue to resolve conflicting issues in a more timely manner," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. "As I have repeatedly said, this game needed to be played."
The SEC Commissioner's Regulations requires each football team play all eight Conference games in a season in order to be eligible to compete for a divisional title and play in the SEC Championship Game. Had the game not been rescheduled, Florida and LSU would have been ineligible to compete for the SEC title this season.
... but, ya know, a week later. For whatever reason, the SEC couldn't oversee a timely deal without raising a ruckus, which led to much public discord.
Hey, let's ask Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo why his team's still winning despite losing its best player in decades.
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Here are our Week 7 picks! They're incredibly chalky this week.
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As always on a Friday, there's too much good stuff to link to at SB Nation's many team blogs, so find your school's site and join a discussion.
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