Tropical Storm Isaac Forces Opening Weekend Schedule Changes

By Justine Hendricks

Several schools in the Gulf Coast region have announced changes to their season openers as Tropical Storm Isaac moves through the area.

Isaac, which reached hurricane strength on Wednesday, is hitting the region with heavy rain and strong wind, causing at least 70,000 to lose power.

The game between Oregon State and Nicholls State, initially set for Saturday in Corvallis, Ore., has been postponed indefinitely due to travel concerns.

“With the lingering effects of Hurricane Isaac, we do not want to put any of our student-athletes or staff in danger,” Nicholls State athletic director Rob Bernardi said in a statement.

Nicholls State, whose campus is located in Thibodaux, La., planned to fly to Oregon on Friday morning, but the area is still dealing with dangerous weather conditions. The Colonels have not practiced since last weekend because of the storm.

School and conference officials are still trying to determine when the game will be played, because the two teams don’t have a common bye week. The weekend of December 1, at the end of the season, is a possibility unless Nicholls State reaches the FCS playoffs, or Oregon State plays in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The two teams will start their football seasons a week late, on Sept. 8. Oregon State will host #12 Wisconsin, and Nicholls State will play at South Alabama.

South Alabama’s season opener in Mobile against Texas San-Antonio has also been affected by Isaac. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday night but has been moved to Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

Stephen F. Austin has also moved their home opener, against Southwestern Oklahoma in Nacogdoches, Tx. from Thursday night to Friday night because of weather concerns.

Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M have moved their game, scheduled for Thursday night, to October 13. New head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies will now make their SEC debut on Sept. 8 against Florida. Louisiana Tech’s Ragin’ Cajuns will open the season the same day on the road against Sumlin’s former team, the Houston Cougars.

As of Thursday morning, LSU and Tulane still planned to play their openers as scheduled.

Tulane moved practices to Birmingham, Al. for most of the week, but will return to New Orleans to face Rutgers at the Superdome this weekend. Superdome officials said the dome sustained only superficial damage and never lost power, and Rutgers’ charter flight to New Orleans is not expected to be affected.

LSU was “hunkered down” in the football complex in Baton Rouge on Wednesday but hoped to resume practices on Thursday. Campus has been closed since Tuesday and the rest of this week’s classes are cancelled, but the Tigers’ game against North Texas is still set for 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

“The schedule is obviously in relationship to how fast or how slow the storm moves,” LSU Coach Les Miles said on a Wednesday call.

In Miles’ first season in 2005, the Tigers’ game against North Texas was postponed because of Hurricane Katrina.

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