ATHENS, Ga. - A hurricane may disrupt the Georgia-South Carolina game this Saturday and we’re not talking about one of Mark Richt’s players either.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said during a press conference on Wednesday she told the USC athletic department that state resources would not be available for the game. Haley said she could not justify pulling state troopers off the roads during a state of emergency.
USC officials said they do not plan to make a decision about Saturday night's game until Thursday.
Forecasters do have the storm affecting in the area of Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina at the same time as kickoff.
USC issued the following statement Tuesday:
“The University of South Carolina and the athletics department are currently monitoring the movements of Hurricane Matthew. We are in communication with the National Weather Service, local authorities and the SEC regarding potential weather issues. The safety of everyone that could be impacted by this storm is paramount. Once forecasts call for action, we will use all means necessary to inform the public. Kickoff for the USC football game vs. Georgia is slated for 7:30 pm Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made some comments on the weather Tuesday:
‘’I haven’t really talked to anybody, but I’m obviously aware of the weather. I’ve heard different people making different statements. To be honest with you, we’re just focused on getting ready for the game. We had a team meeting today to discuss just that, that our focus needed to be on getting ready for this game. Whatever happens, happens. It’s really out of our control. There are a lot of scenarios out there, none of which I want to discuss because it’s not really my call. We want to do what’s right for the safety of the players and for the safety of the people of South Carolina.’’
‘’It would be just that, the wind and the rain. It affects the kicking game probably more than it does the quarterbacks. I always thought it affected the defensive players the most because they’re reacting, and the offensive players know where they’re going. So when you’ve got to react, sometimes there’s more slipping and sliding. It really becomes more of a controlled-ball type deal, so we’ll see what happens.’’
The SEC also weighed in:
“As a matter of practice, the SEC communicates regularly with schools on significant weather issues and will remain in contact with the schools involved in both football games that have potential to be impacted by Hurricane Matthew this weekend.”
Hurricane Matthew is forecasted to skirt up the East Coast through the weekend.
Elsewhere in college football, No. 18 Florida's home game against LSU has been postponed because of looming Hurricane Matthew, which has already been blamed for more than 100 deaths and is threatening the southeastern U.S. coast.
The Southeastern Conference announced the decision on Thursday. The SEC said efforts would be made to reschedule the game, though the Gators and Tigers do not have a common open date.
Earlier Thursday, U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana urged Florida Gov. Rick Scott to intervene in hopes that the Florida-LSU game would be either moved or rescheduled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report