For the second time this season, officials from Miami and Florida State are monitoring a tropical system that could impact the annual rivalry game between the two schools.
The 13th-ranked Hurricanes and Seminoles are scheduled to meet Saturday in Tallahassee, a game pushed back from its original Sept. 16 date because of Hurricane Irma.
Now, a newly formed tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea could impact the rescheduled game. The system is projected to become Tropical Storm Nate, travel into the Gulf of Mexico then become a hurricane as it approaches the Florida panhandle.
As of the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the early forecast cone for the system stretches from just north of the Tampa area to the Alabama-Mississippi border, an area that encompasses Tallahassee. That’s where the Hurricanes and Seminoles are set to play Saturday afternoon at 3:30.
“We are monitoring the situation and [are] in communication with Florida State and the conference office,” Miami AD Blake James said in a text message to the Sun Sentinel.
Said FSU in a statement, “We are monitoring the tropical storm and will continue to do so throughout the week.”
Along with forcing the postponement of their game from its original date, Irma has already wreaked havoc on the schedules for both Miami and Florida State, both schools canceling games last month ahead of the storm.
The Hurricanes were scheduled to play at Arkansas State on Sept. 9, while FSU was scheduled to host Louisiana Monroe in its home opener that day.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sept. 10 in the Florida Keys and caused extensive tree damage and power outages in South Florida, including on Miami’s Coral Gables campus.
Because of that, the team was forced to relocate north to Orlando for several practices ahead of its Sept. 23 game at Toledo.
Miami, which is coming off a 31-6 win at Duke last Friday, was seemingly starting to get back into its typical game-week routine ahead of the FSU game before this new system formed.
“You really can only control what you can control so we’ll let the administration figure all that out,” Hurricanes coach Mark Richt said Wednesday after his team practiced at the Dolphins facility in Davie because of spotty weather in South Florida this morning. “Coming off the bus is the first I’ve heard of it, so I didn’t know anything about it. We’re going to continue practicing and preparing and getting ready to play.”
Added Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, “It doesn’t affect anything in our preparation. We’ll go play if they let us play.”
Whatever may happen in the coming days, the Hurricanes say they’re confident they’ll be able to handle any kind of adjustment this weather system might bring their way.
After all, they’ve already gone 10 days without practicing, endured an evacuation and still found ways to win their three games, while battling conditioning issues on the field and all kinds of storm-related distractions off it.
“It’s just something else to deal with, I guess,” receiver Braxton Berrios said. “I haven’t thought about it much until now, obviously, but again, whatever it is, we’ll take it in stride like we have this season.”
Staff writers Safid Deen and Brett Clarkson contributed to this report.