LSU vs. Florida: Winner is common sense
LSU gets to keep its coveted home game.
Florida loses two home games this season, but as long as LSU is happy …
The result is after a week of shouting, screaming and finger-pointing, LSU and Florida have settled their differences and rescheduled their football game.
Nov. 19 … in Baton Rouge. In exchange, Florida will host next year’s game.
Score one for common sense.
Twice this week, I suggested this should have been the SEC’s immediate solution. Florida and LSU are permanent partners. They play every year. They alternate venues every year. Simply flipping this year for next year was the easiest and most logical resolution.
It’s not ideal, but we weren’t dealing with ideal circumstances.
Instead, as the back-and-forth continued, we were left with myriad suggestions, some of which poked fun at the decision-makers’ problem-solving skills.
I've got it. Move the LSU-Florida game to Dec. 3 at 9 am. If the winner clinches a division b/c of it, we'll fly them to Atlanta for kickoff
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 10, 2016
It’s important to remember how LSU tried to control the narrative. As Hurricane Matthew was destroying southeastern coastal communities, LSU grabbed the microphone and offered to host the game.
It reportedly offered a lot of things, planes, trains, automobiles, hotels, maybe even mints on the pillows. But I never saw it reported anywhere that the Tigers offered to simply swap this year’s game for next year’s game.
Here’s a good guess: Next year already was shaping up as a monster. The Tigers will play Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee on the road in 2017. Now, they’ll get to add a road trip to Gainesville. And they won’t have Leonard Fournette and all of those returning starters, either.
So an ugly standoff ensued. The SEC’s reputation took a beating.
At least the conspiracy theorists had fun. Many suggested that Florida was somehow afraid to play LSU. Alabama, maybe …
This was a mess. An absolutely avoidable mess, too.
It was extremely telling Thursday that Florida AD Jeremy Foley told reporters that once the game was postponed, LSU offered little to no help in finding a solution.
It was even more telling that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey publicly thanked Florida but made no mention of LSU. Florida lost a lot in today’s announcement.
“As I have repeatedly said, this game needed to be played,” Sankey said in an SEC statement. “In the end, I want to give credit to the University of Florida for making concessions to move this year’s game to Baton Rouge.”
That was the other positive, important development in Thursday’s announcement: We won’t go through this again.
The SEC, clearly not happy with the posturing of (pick your school here), decided it had seen enough.
Moving forward, the SEC presidents and chancellors have given the commissioner full authority to solve this on his own. He has the authority “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.”
Now that’s a winning idea.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at email@example.com.