The University of Maine Black Bears football team (1-2) will not be traveling to Orlando, Fla. Sept. 30 to take on Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent University of Central Florida (UCF). Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc, ravaged the peninsula and caused scheduling conflicts that have forced the game to be called off.
“The decision was made by the American Athletic Conference to maintain the integrity of their conference schedule. Danny White [athletic director for UCF] worked very close with Karlton Creech [the athletic director for Maine] to come to terms with the cancellation of the Maine at UCF game,” William Biberstein, the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Operations at UMaine, said.
The Black Bears will instead be awarded a bye week this week and have extra time off now before playing Colonial Athletic Association foe Villanova on Oct. 7. Attempts were made to add another game to the schedule but nothing lined up, and now that Maine only has a 10 game schedule, Biberstein expressed concern over how it affects the team’s playoff hopes.
“Regarding the NCAA playoffs, we feel at this time not playing the 11th game verses a FBS team will negatively affect our playoff hopes.”
It’s also more than just the playoffs. Many hours of grueling practices and workouts go into preparing each player to be the season to play all 11 games. Fans pay money to travel to these games to support the teams. Many different individuals are impacted in losing a game, as Biberstein went on to highlight.
“The loss of a game effects the Student-Athletes and Coaches as they prepare and train all year long for the season. Also affected is the great Maine fans who support the team. Our fans enjoy watching the team playing FBS teams.”
Maine isn’t the only one feeling the affects. UCF already had called off its Sept. 16 matchup with Georgia Tech, which was a factor in deciding to cancel Maine’s trip. UCF will start conference play, squaring off against The University of Memphis instead of the Black Bears. UCF is coming off a big game versus Maryland where they put up 38 points in a 38-10 beat down on the Terrapins.
The Black Bears lost a tough game to No. 1 James Madison on Saturday 28-10, and will get back to the drawing board before continuing conference play at Villanova. Last season Maine didn’t have much luck against the Wildcats, losing 26-7, but with an extra week to prepare Maine hopes to be on the winning end of things this year.