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Critics think Florida had motives for not playing the LSU game

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Evidently, some people think the Florida Gators should have taken on LSU’s Tigers and a hurricane over the weekend.

How else do you explain the reaction the Gators got for suspending their game?

There are those who suggested the Gators didn’t want to play the game. Why else wouldn’t Florida have moved the game to Baton Rouge? Why wouldn’t Florida travel to the ends of the earth to play the game?

“Nineteen deaths, 2.5 million people without power,” said Gators coach Jim McElwain. “Families in dire need. Obviously, they don’t know me, they don’t know the Florida Gators. Dodging the game? Wow. How anybody could think that way is beyond me.”

The Gators and LSU began talking about options on Tuesday, when officials believed the game could still be played in Gainesville. Later, Florida decided the game would be played in the state. When the hurricane continued on its path and became a Category 4, the game was postponed.

There was no discussion of a neutral site game. The Gators declined to move the game to LSU.

“Impossible to accommodate that request, which we greatly appreciated,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “I think everyone in this room understands how the University of Florida feels about playing LSU. This series is very important to our fan base and important to this institution, but to try and put a road trip together of 150-plus people in a day and half … again, not in the best interest of safety, not in the best interest of people that would be involved on that trip.”

Critics have suggested Florida ducked the game because of injuries to its quarterback and defensive line. There is an outside chance the game will be made up, but it involves both schools buying out opponents.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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