A decision regarding the status of Thursday night’s ACC football game between Boston College vs. Wake Forest is expected on Tuesday, per a BC source. That decision could be anything from playing the game as scheduled to outright cancellation, although some options are clearly much more likely than others.
The very latest from the National Weather Service this morning projects Hurricane Florence to be an extremely dangerous storm, a Category 4, with landfall projected early Friday morning somewhere along the coast of the Carolinas.
The good news, if there is any, is that a Friday landfall obviously helps the situation a ton. That doesn’t mean the effects of the storm won’t be over land on Thursday — the storm is huge, almost the size of the Carolinas themselves — but it does at least give more of a window of time to try and make the game work.
As Patrick pointed out yesterday, Winston-Salem is very far inland at over 200 miles from the coast, and only 100 miles from the Tennessee border, so it won’t take the brunt of the storm. And indeed, Syracuse at Wake Forest in 2016 was played during Hurricane Matthew, though that storm stayed mainly along the coast and didn’t crash inland.
The options in play for Thursday’s game seem to be:
- Play the game as scheduled — this seems like the least likely option, as Thursday night will likely see the start of the storm’s effect on the mainland.
- Move up the game time on Thursday — this is a distinct possibility, as it seems like the storm won’t be touching inland North Carolina yet early on Thursday. ESPN would need to be on board, however Early Game would certainly be preferable to them to No Game, you would think.
- Change the game date to Saturday — this is probably just as unlikely as playing the game as scheduled, as the storm is expected to linger in the Carolinas for quite some time.
- Move the game to another site, such as BC or a neutral site more inland — at this point, it’s probably much too late for this option. The Eagles are probably supposed to fly out tonight, and the logistics involved with moving a nationally-televised ACC football game are probably not such that it can be done with two days’ notice.
- Reschedule the game — Unfortunately, BC and Wake do not share an off day this year, so unless they want to play on ACC Football Championship weekend (and to a man, the Eagles would probably tell you they’re hoping to be playing a different game in North Carolina that weekend), that’s probably a no-go.
- Outright cancellation of the game — Not only is this on the table, but this is easily one of the two most likely options, along with moving up the game. This is a rough storm, and with how difficult changing the game would be, the reality is this could be where we end up.
Cancelling the game would be devastating to both programs, as both teams really need this game. The Eagles in particular are looking at a very realistic chance of seeing a little number next to their name for the first time since the end of the 2008 season. So the political will, so to speak, is there for the teams to make the game happen. Hopefully the teams — and ESPN — can pull off the logistics of doing so.