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College football cancels all games

By Associated Press

Friday September 14, 2001

NEW YORK - There will be no major college football games tomorrow after all.

The Big 12 and Southeastern conferences reversed field yesterday and postponed their football games this weekend because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The Big Ten said it did not officially postpone games, but its 11 schools either suspended home games or had road games postponed for them.

Two days after announcing its games would go on, the leagues joined the Atlantic Coast, Big East and Pac-10 conferences in not playing. The NFL also postponed its games.

The schools from the six major conferences plus Notre Dame form the Bowl Championship Series, which picks its top two teams at the end of the season to play in its national championship game.

In addition, the other five NCAA Division I-A conferences - Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic, also postponed its games. Notre Dame, an independent, had its game at Purdue, a Big Ten school, postponed.

A total of 58 games involving I-A teams will not be played this weekend - 54 were postponed and four were canceled. The games that won't be made up are Navy at Northwestern, Bowling Green at South Carolina, Marshall at TCU and Appalachian State at Troy State.

It's the first time major college football will not play any of its regularly scheduled Saturday games. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, many games scheduled for the next day were postponed, but several were played, including Oklahoma-Nebraska, Florida-Miami and Auburn-Florida State.

As of 6 p.m. EDT yesterday, there were still 41 Division I-AA games scheduled this weekend.

With all Division I-A football games called off, schools are trying to determine which games will be made up at a later date, and when that might be.

Karl Benson, commissioner of the WAC, said the NFL's decision to postpone its games weighed heavily with the colleges.

"It had a very significant impact," Benson said. "We haven't been able to the go five minutes without seeing or hearing reports from the World Trade Center. No one has ever had to face this crisis before, not the commissioner of the NFL, the PGA or myself. The longer you can wait to make a decision the better decision you can make."

Among the most prominent games postponed were three matchups in Florida: No. 13 Washington at No. 1 Miami, No. 8 Tennessee at No. 2 Florida and No. 10 Georgia Tech at No. 6 Florida State.

Tomorrow's schedule had featured 18 games involving 22 of the AP's Top 25 teams.

The SEC, which had said on Wednesday that its games would be played, reversed course yesterday.

"The Southeastern Conference joins all of the other major sporting entities in the nation in postponing all athletic events," the SEC said.

"The conference continues to believe this country must begin the healing process following the horrendous events of the past week and will evaluate all future schedules at an appropriate time."

Earlier yesterday, three games involving Top 25 teams were postponed - Utah State at No. 11 Fresno State, Bowling Green at No. 18 South Carolina and No. 25 Louisville at Illinois.

It was the first inkling that schools disagreed with earlier conference decisions to play. In addition to the NFL's decision, college player reaction and travel concerns played a role in the postponements.

"There was real anxiety as the week went on the part of our football team about traveling by air," Bowling Green athletic director Paul Krebs said.

Even after saying Wednesday its teams would play "except in cases where Big Ten teams and their opponents have mutually agreed to modify or cancel playing dates and times," seven Big Ten teams had its games postponed - Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

The other four teams -- Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota - were set to play Big 12 opponents, so when the Big 12 postponed its games, it wiped out the entire Big Ten schedule.

Some games have been rescheduled and conferences will be working to try to reschedule other games. The SEC left open an option of moving it Dec. 1 league title game to Dec. 8 to give teams a chance to fit in postponed games.

"I'm sure everybody's preference would be for life to be normal and therefore play the games that were scheduled," ACC commissioner John Swofford said. "But life isn't normal."

Among those games rescheduled are Notre Dame-Purdue and Penn State-Virginia, both on Dec. 1.


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