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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Column: With Hurricane Irma approaching, UF should move Northern Colorado game to Friday

<p>Scott Stricklin addressed the future of spring sports at UF Friday afternoon.</p>

Scott Stricklin addressed the future of spring sports at UF Friday afternoon.

Anyone that’s active on social media or has read the news knows that Hurricane Irma is coming.

How can you not?

We’ve known about this storm for more than a week, and now that it has been upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane, people have started preparing for it.

Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, is slowly making its way toward Florida. It has already hit the Caribbean, and by the time this weekend rolls around, it will most likely be downgraded to a Category 4, prompting Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency for all 67 of Florida’s counties.

I was at Publix Tuesday afternoon and all the cases of plastic water bottles were gone. I scrolled through Twitter and saw pictures of the same thing happening at Walmart and other stores.

I drove around Gainesville looking for any place that still had bottled water and was turned down at all stops. I had to settle for a gallon of Zephyrhills spring water and way too much Gatorade.

The hurricane, however, is not the only event happening this weekend.

The Florida football team plays Northern Colorado on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The storm is supposed to hit the Florida Keys and South Florida around the same time.

I know it’s a bit early to call, but this game cannot and should not be played on that day. Instead, the game should be moved to Friday night.

It might be the unpopular and unnecessary option, but it will be the right call.

For starters, it gives the Bears enough time to come to Gainesville, play the game and leave before the storm hits. It also gives fans enough time to see the game and leave for safety as well.

But the biggest reason for moving the game is to help ease some of the players’ minds. The Gators have 92 players from Florida, and over half of them are from Tampa or farther south.

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A hurricane of this magnitude is enough to cause those players to worry about their families stuck in the storm’s path. Moving the game to the day before would take away the conflict of choosing between family and football.

Of course, UF would never do this, but it would make sense to if they want to fit this game into the season without having to reschedule it.

Think of last year’s Florida-LSU game that was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. The game got postponed only two days before the matchup was originally supposed to happen. The Gators only played five home games instead of six as a result.

Do the responsible thing, UF, and get the game moved to Friday night. It’ll just make things a lot safer for everyone involved.

Or, you know, you could always move the game to LSU. Worked last time.

Look out for Jake Dreilinger's next column on Sept. 14. Contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

Scott Stricklin addressed the future of spring sports at UF Friday afternoon.

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