Schedule Fallout From Hurricane Irma Continues to Play Out, But There’s A Ways to Go Yet

So today, the American Athletic Conference announced the schedule machinations they worked together in order to ensure that every conference game – including the previously cancelled UCF-Memphis and UC0nn-USF matchups – would get played in order to have a full slate of conference games.

Here’s how it goes, in a connect-the-dots fashion:

  • South Florida’s game at UConn has been rescheduled for November 4th.
  • As a result, East Carolina @ UConn moves from November 4th to September 24th, Houston @ South Florida moves from November 4th to October 28th
  • As a result of that, ECU @ UH moves from Oct 28 to Nov 4, and Cinci @ USF moves from Oct 28 to Oct 14
  • As a result of that, UMass @ USF on 10/14 has been cancelled

Good so far? Alright, almost there. In addition to the above domino effect, the UCF game against Memphis will be played September 30th, and as a result, Memphis cancelled their game against Georgia State (with a $1.1 million buyout) and UCF cancelled their game against Maine ($350,000 original payout still being made).

Last but not least, FIU’s game at Indiana this weekend got cancelled, with Indiana already filling their originally scheduled bye week on October 7th with a visit by Charleston Southern. UCF’s game against Georgia Tech also got scrapped. So let’s catch up on the carnage, shall we?

At this point, Florida International, UTSA, Arkansas State, Louisiana Monroe, Georgia State, Houston, UMass and UCF are all in need of an additional game if they’d like to play 12 this season. So what are their options?

Georgia State Panthers and Maine Black Bears

Georgia State has by far the clearest and simplest path to regaining a full schedule. UCF and Memphis just cancelled Georgia State and Maine in order to play each other, so there’s nothing stopping a Maine at Georgia State matchup other than the Black Bears flying into Atlanta instead of Orlando.

Oh, and then the other thing stopping it is Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb, who said the replacement game would be “preferably a home FBS game.”

Obviously, this presents some challenge. No team is going to sacrifice a bye week so they can go on the road and play Georgia State, which is in the “useless win/damaging loss” categories these days (sorry Panthers fans). One option is the UTSA Roadrunners, who have an open date on 9/30 and are in need of a 12th game after their season opener against Houston got cancelled.

The Roadrunners could take this either way. This could be a game that they see as a no reward win and big risk loss and therefore not worthwhile, or it could be another in the win column for a team looking to go bowling.

Maine, on the other hand, is in a bind. They’ve already got a bye this weekend, and without a replacement game for UCF they’ll have two byes in three weeks. It would be a big help to them to make the trip to Atlanta, especially since both teams already got paid for the game that’s not happening.

I think the simplest solution is to bite the bullet and invite Maine to town, but it would of course be silly to not at least place a phone call to San Antonio and see what’s up.

Everybody else in this cluster

So the rest of everything takes some serious jerry-rigging to even see a clear path to a 12th game for some of these teams. The remaining list is as follows:

  • FIU open 10/21
  • UMass open 10/7, 10/14
  • UCF open 10/28
  • UH open 11/11
  • Arkansas State open 11/4
  • ULM open 11/11

You can see the issue. Almost none of these damn teams’ schedules line up in any way. The clear match here is to have Louisiana-Monroe and Houston share their open date and have Houston host the Warhawks. That replaces a road game with a road game for ULM, and replaces a… home-ish game with a home game for the Cougars. Or maybe the Cougars go to Monroe, since they’ll be at Tulane the following weekend anyway.

Aside from that, UMass could be a key cog in all of this unfolding. At the moment, they have a double-bye the first two Saturday’s of October, and they also play Maine on November 11th and  FIU in December 2nd. A straight filler for them could be FCS Northern Colorado, who has an open date on October 14th and needs a replacement for their game against Florida.

Aside from that, who knows? I apologize for not doing an in-depth scrawl through every single FCS team to find some availability for those weekends, but I have a life, people. So what did we learn?

  • Georgia State shouls try to fill their new open date with UTSA, and settle for Maine if the Roadrunners say no.
  • Houston and ULM should pair up their matching open dates (both teams get an easier opponent than what was originally scheduled)
  • UMass should be a good third wheel independent and do whatever the hell Maine, FIU, or anyone else needs to make things work.

We’ll keep an eye on these scheduling machinations as they play out, and hopefully, everyone continues to recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in all of those other, far more important ways. Don’t pass up your opportunities to donate to the Red Cross Relief Fund – it doesn’t matter how much you give, just that you give.


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