As most of the country was enjoying the first full weekend of college football, the Florida Gators were playing slip ‘n slide with the Idaho Vandals at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, affectionately known as “the swamp.” On Saturday, torrential rains flooded the field, and lighting storms delayed the start of the game more than three hours. Then one play was ran — the opening kickoff to the Gators — who ran it back 66 yards, only to have the game suspended once more when lightning was once again detected. The teams never took the field again.
The conditions at Ben Hill Griffin were wet, to say the least. It was Steve Spurrier, the coach of the Gators from 1990-2001, who coined the stadium as “the swamp,” but even Spurrier had no idea it could get this bad. On the one play, players from both sides slogged through multiple inches of water and after the second lightning suspension, the game was called for what SEC officials, both athletics directors, and the on-field officiating crew called “unsafe field conditions.”
There is no word on if the game will be made up, and according to the Daytona Beach News Journal, the teams have four options: resume play at a later date, call the game with a determined final score, one team could forfeit the game (which in this case should be the home team–the Gators, as it was their field that was unplayable), or it could be declared a “no contest” game, which means for all intents and purposes, it never happened.
It is highly unlikely that Florida will concede the forfeit, as they are considered a college football “power house,” and the Idaho Vandals, who play in a lower division in the Sun Belt conference, are not. Giving the Vandals — who went 1-11 last season — the win could hurt the Gators chances at a bowl or even a highly unlikely spot in the new four-team playoff system that Division One football has switched to this year after abandoning the non-sensical and widely-hated BCS format.
Both teams have an off-week on October 25, and the game could be made up then, but all sides point to the Florida Gators, losers of seven straight games going back to last season, opting to call the game a no contest and pretending like it never happened. If this is the case, would Idaho still get its pay for traveling across country to take on a better team? In this case, yes, according to Joe Davidson from the Sacramento Bee, Idaho will get paid. In college football circles, this game is called “the money game” and smaller school, like Idaho, count on those funds to help pay for other athletics programs.
Idaho was paid $950,000 for playing the Florida Gators in The Swamp, and torrential rain suspended the game. Idaho really cashed in
— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) August 31, 2014
The best scenario here is that the game is in fact made up on October 25, and both schools get what they need out of it. For the Florida Gators, most likely an easy win. For the Idaho Vandals, in addition to monies already paid out, exposure on a national stage. Regardless of what is decided, there is less chance of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium resembling a swamp in late October and the playing field, while grossly uneven in terms of talent, will at least be dry. The Florida Gators Football team owes it to its fans, and to Idaho, to play the game. What do you think?
[Images courtesy of AP and Google]