The Trojans arrived in northern Florida on Thursday evening to find calm but cloudy conditions, and Florida State officials said Saturday's game at Tallahassee will be played in spite of Hurricane Georges unless the safety of players and fans is at risk.
University officials plan to assess the situation again this morning as the path of the hurricane becomes more clear, and will continue to monitor the storm until a final decision is made.
"Unless in our university's collective opinion we are jeopardizing people's safety by being in the direct path of the hurricane, we will play the game as scheduled," a spokesman said.
Uncertainty about how the storm might affect the game also has led Las Vegas bookmakers to take the game off the board, a spokeswoman for Caesars Palace said. In addition, USC's sports information office received more than 60 calls Thursday from fans wondering if the game would be played.
"We're here, and proceeding moment by moment," Tim Tessalone, USC's director of sports information, said after the team reached its hotel. The Trojans are scheduled to practice this afternoon.
USC officials are making contingency travel plans--including possibly departing for Los Angeles from Tallahassee on Saturday morning if the game is canceled, as well as possibly flying out of Jacksonville or Atlanta after the game Saturday night if the weather is becoming severe.
Coach Paul Hackett says rain is fine, but his worry is about lightning, which would be enough of a safety issue to cancel the game.
Kicker Adam Abrams is concerned about wind.
"It's probably 20 to 30 yards difference--either way--if there are winds like they're predicting," he said. "I watched a baseball game being played in Florida, and it was pretty nasty."
Center Matt McShane made the trip despite a knee injury, but Eric Denmon, the other center with a knee injury, stayed home.