BATON ROUGE - “This is a joke,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in an email to LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette on Oct. 6 after learning that Georgia’s game at South Carolina had been postponed from Oct. 8 to Oct. 9 because of Hurricane Matthew, which was what Alleva wanted to do with the LSU game at Florida also originally scheduled for Oct. 8.
The emails from that time were received recently after a public records request by WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge.
Alleva had offered to have the LSU team fly into Gainesville, Florida, play Florida, and fly out on Oct. 9 or Oct. 10 instead of the original date of Oct. 8 because of Matthew, but Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said no to that. One of Foley's reasons was a lack of police and various emergency personnel to stage a game one or two days after the original date, though Louisiana State Police superintendent Mike Edmonson told the USA Today Network later he could have helped Florida with the game by sending Louisiana troopers and other emergency personnel to assist with the storm aftermath and/or game. There would have also likely been fewer people attending the game because of the storm.
Florida Atlantic also moved its home game in Boca Raton, Florida, from Saturday to Sunday amid very similar Matthew circumstances to Gainesville and to Columbia, South Carolina.
“Florida would want to play as much as us,” LSU Board of Supervisors member Blake Chatelain of Alexandria responded to Alleva in the same email trail. “Would they not?”
Alleva answered, “No way. If they lost, they would lose the East (division race). Their schedule is easier than Tennessee’s. If they wanted to play, we would be playing here or there.”
Alleva, like many LSU fans at the time, seemed to be saying that Florida was ducking the game.
On Oct. 1, Florida had struggled to win, 13-6, at Vanderbilt, while LSU appeared on a roll with new interim coach Ed Orgeron after beating Missouri, 42-7, on that date. The Gators also were expected to be without three starters on its defensive line and original starting quarterback Luke Del Rio's status was up in the air as he was still trying to return from a knee injury.
The game was eventually rescheduled for Nov. 19 at LSU as non-conference games between Florida and Presbyterian and LSU and South Alabama on that date were cancelled. Del Rio returned to action on Oct. 15 and completed 18 of 38 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in a 40-14 win over Missouri.
Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) is in first place in the SEC East over Kentucky (4-3, 3-2) and Tennessee (5-2, 2-2). LSU (5-2, 3-1) hosts No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) on Saturday, Nov. 5 after an open date this weekend.
Coverage of LSU and commentary by Glenn Guilbeau supported by Hebert’s Town & Country Automobile Dealer in Shreveport located at 1155 East Bert Kouns Loop. Research your next Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram at http://hebertstandc.com/.
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