BSU/FSU

Boise State receiver Khalil Shakir (2) hauls in a touchdown pass during a 36-31 win at Florida State on Aug. 31, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida.

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The Boise State football team’s most anticipated game in years won’t happen — at least in 2020.

A Sept. 19 matchup with Florida State inside Albertsons Stadium has been called off due to an ACC scheduling change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the first game to be canceled from Boise State’s 2020 season. The Broncos now currently have 11 games on the schedule, beginning with a Sept. 5 home game against Georgia Southern.

Teams in the ACC will now play 10 conference games and one nonconference game, but the nonconference game must be in the home state of the ACC school. That means Florida State will be unable to travel to Boise for what would have been a rematch of Boise State’s 36-31 win in Tallahassee in the 2019 season opener.

It’s possible Boise State and Florida State will look to reschedule the game for a future season, but the Seminoles likely weren’t crazy about making the cross-country trip to Boise anyway given how last year’s game went.

“It is too early to provide comment on anything in relation to the ACC’s announcement this afternoon, or what this means for Boise State’s 2020 home schedule,” Boise State said in a statement. “As we have done throughout the last several months, we will continue to communicate with our season ticket holders as additional information becomes available regarding the upcoming season.”

According to a contract for the two-game series obtained by the Idaho Press, Florida State won’t have to pay the $2 million penalty for canceling the game within 12 months because it says “both parties should be relieved of any and all obligations” if a decision or ruling by the Mountain West, ACC or the NCAA make it “impossible or impractical to play the game.”

Boise State does, however, save the $400,000 it would have had to pay the Seminoles for travel costs.

Losing Florida State is a huge blow to the Broncos, who have been looking forward to hosting the national power in Boise since the game was scheduled in 2013. It had been billed by some as one of the biggest and most-anticipated sporting events in the history of the state of Idaho.

The fact that capacity likely would have been limited inside Albertsons Stadium — if fans were allowed in at all — had already taken some of the luster off the game, but getting a program like Florida State to agree to come play in the 36,000-seat stadium was seen as a major coup for a program like Boise State.

The Broncos still have some big home games on the schedule, but none as appealing as the Seminoles. They are currently scheduled to host Oklahoma State in 2021, Michigan State in 2022 and both UCF and Oregon State in 2023.

It’s unclear if Boise State will look to replace Florida State on the schedule. A request for comment from Boise State wasn’t immediately returned late Wednesday.

Interestingly enough the Idaho Vandals currently have Sept. 19 open after a game with Washington State was canceled. Would the rival Vandals be interested in a game in Boise to help recoup some of the money they would have earned for playing at Washington State? The two teams haven’t played since 2010, but maybe a pandemic is enough to make it happen.

Central Florida also is looking for a game on Sept. 19 after a road game was canceled. Would the Knights be willing to come to Boise to start a scheduled home-and-home series a year early? That would take some of the sting off losing Florida State from the schedule.

The Mountain West hasn’t made any changes to the 2020 season but could potentially look to institute a conference-only schedule like other conferences have done. The league could have teams play an 11-game schedule against each of the other 11 teams in the league, or a modified home-and-home schedule against regional teams in the league that would help cut down on travel.

Another option would be to include BYU as a Mountain West member for the 2020 season like the ACC is doing with Notre Dame. That way the 12 teams in the Mountain West could still play a full 12-game schedule if they play the 11 other teams in the league plus BYU. It’s unclear if adding the Cougars is a viable option, but BYU already has had five games canceled due to the pandemic and is needing more games.

Boise State is currently scheduled to open fall camp on Aug. 7.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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