For the first time since 2000, the Georgia Tech football game will not play a complete season.
Saturday’s game against Central Florida in Orlando was canceled early Monday afternoon because of Hurricane Irma. The cancellation ended speculation about what might actually take place, and leaves the Yellow Jackets with an 11-game regular-season schedule.
Officials from both schools considered all options to play the game but were left with no choice but to cancel it.
It had been rumored that the two teams might simply switch home games and play Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Under that scenario, Georgia Tech would then play at Central Florida in 2020, when the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to host the game.
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But that approach would have been difficult for Georgia Tech to gets its stadium crew ready in such a short period of time. It was also uncertain whether it was possible to get the Central Florida payers together in time to make a trip, as many of the players had evacuated the school and the campus was closed on Friday and will not reopen earlier than Thursday.
The two schools also discussed trying to play at a later time this season. That was not possible since they do not have a mutual bye week. Central Florida already needs to make up last week’s postponed game with Memphis.
The problem of hosting this week’s game was compounded by Central Florida’s willingness to serve as a staging ground for the emergency crews helping with hurricane relief. The school is hosting 1,000 members of the National Guard and 250 emergency vehicles.
“We are in complete agreement with the decision to cancel Saturday’s game,” Georgia Tech athletics director Todd Stansbury said. “While we’re disappointed for both teams, student-athletes, coaches and fans, recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma should be and is the top priority for UCF and the entire state of Florida at this time.”
The last time Georgia Tech had a game canceled was in 2000, when the season opener at Virginia Tech was canceled because of lightning.