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Rescheduling Florida vs. LSU may depend on the Sun Belt

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LSU-Florida postponed but must make up game down the road (2:20)

Paul Finebaum, David Pollack, and Desmond Howard discuss the difficulties of rescheduling the game during an off day in the middle of the season and what the repercussions will be if LSU and Florida do not play for the SEC East race. (2:20)


With all of the possible dates to reschedule the LSU at Florida game appearing less and less likely, there remain two viable options that would allow the game to be played in Gainesville and LSU to not lose a home game.

And all that would need to happen would be LSU moving its home game with South Alabama and rotating two Sun Belt conference games.

Sounds simple? It is, as long as LSU would agree to play at Gainesville on Nov. 19. On Monday, however, LSU AD Joe Alleva stressed that the Tigers “are going to have a home game on Nov. 19. That’s one thing we’re going to hold firm on.”

Alleva also indicated “it’s going to be very difficult to reschedule this [UF] game. We are not going to give up a home game.”

The Tigers, who are scheduled to host South Alabama on Nov. 19, don’t have to -- and here’s how:

Scenario 1:

  • LSU at Florida is moved to Nov. 19;

    South Alabama at LSU is moved from Nov. 19 to Oct. 29, LSU’s current open date;

    South Alabama moves its Oct. 29 home game with Georgia State to Nov. 19;

    Georgia State moves its Nov. 19 home date with Georgia Southern to Nov. 26, which is an open date for both Sun Belt teams.

Scenario 2 is the same as Scenario 1 (LSU at UF Nov. 19; USA at LSU on Oct. 29) with the exception of:

  • South Alabama moves its Oct. 29 home game with Georgia State to Nov. 12, USA’s current open date;

    Georgia State moves its Nov. 12 home game with Louisiana Monroe to Nov. 26, which is an open date for both teams.

Under both scenarios, LSU would maintain its full 12-game schedule and keep its seven-game home schedule. Florida would still lose a home game and only play 11 games. The Gators would also have to pay a $500,000 buyout to Presbyterian, UF's scheduled opponent on Nov. 19, because the school can not reschedule on Oct. 22, UF’s open date. UF athletic director Jeremy Foley has previously said this is something the Gators would do to get the LSU game played.

The biggest hurdle for these scenarios is LSU’s game at Texas A&M, scheduled on Thanksgiving, five days after Nov. 19, would have to be moved back to Saturday, Nov. 26. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said his goal is to have the LSU-UF game played. If so, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to move the LSU-A&M game back two days.

Sources told ESPN that the Sun Belt schools would be open to accommodating the SEC, but likely would require some financial compensation for the various expenses in rescheduling home games.

If LSU-Florida isn’t played on Nov. 19, the only other possible dates appear to be Oct. 29 or Dec. 3 -- but those are very unlikely.

On Oct. 29, Florida plays Georgia in Jacksonville, and the schools would have to move their annual neutral site game up a week to Oct. 22, something that Georgia AD Greg McGarity said is "impractical."

“I don’t think it’s an option whatsoever,” McGarity said on the Paul Finebaum Show Monday. “We have over 15,000 temporary seats placed in the stadium just for that game.

“We have an off week next week and things are in place to play Florida on the 29th. It’s such a traditional game, with 40,000 Georgia fans and 40,000 Florida fans.”

LSU President King Alexander told Tiger Rag he wants LSU-Florida to be played on Dec. 3 and move the SEC Championship Game back to Dec. 10.

Even if the SEC signed off on that -- which is “highly, highly unlikely” sources said -- other sources told ESPN that the College Football Playoff would not push back its announcement of the College Football Playoff field from Dec. 4 to Dec. 11. Not only would that delay announcing the participants to the four-team playoff, but it would also hold up the announcement of the pairings in the 38 other bowls for an entire week.

“That scenario,” a source said, “simply will not happen.”

If LSU at Florida is not rescheduled, it could have huge implications on who plays in the SEC Championship Game. If Florida wins out and Tennessee loses one more game, the Gators, with a 6-1 league record, would qualify over 6-2 Tennessee because of a better conference winning percentage -- even though Tennessee won the head-to-head meeting vs. UF.

In the SEC West, if LSU wins out and Alabama only loses once, Alabama at 7-1 would go to the SEC title game over 6-1 LSU with the better conference winning percentage, even though Alabama would have lost the head-to-head meeting over LSU.

Since the conference can not force either school to play a rescheduled game on a specific date, both schools must agree on the new date. If that doesn’t happen, the game will not get played.