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Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
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Still no word on status of Illinois-USF

Monday afternoon came and went with no formal announcement on the status of USF's scheduled home game Friday night against Illinois.

Obviously, the effects of Hurricane Irma on the bay area (substantial, but not as devastating as originally feared) were being assessed by USF officials Monday so a determination could be made on whether the game should go on as planned.

In response to a Monday morning Tweet encouraging the teams to go ahead and play Friday, Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan responded: "Too early-will see how Tampa looks today, assure we can get our practices in & work w/our partners...will let all know ASAP."

Illinois reportedly has offered to host the game, but whether that's a viable option is unclear. What doesn't appear to be an option is moving the game to Saturday.

Florida A&M hosts Tennessee State at 6 p.m. Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in the FAMU Tampa Football Classic. Moving USF-Illinois to earlier in the day and staging a doubleheader isn't plausible in view of all the logistical moving parts.

If the game is held, the Bulls are assured of an extremely short practice week. They haven't practiced since last Thursday, when they were making final preparations for Connecticut (that game was called off).

"Right now we have a game Friday night. Nothing has changed," Illini coach Lovie Smith --  fired after two seasons as Bucs coach in 2016 -- told reporters in Champaign on Monday.

"I know there's been speculation. I have a home in Tampa so I was paying attention closely. I don't think Tampa was hit as hard as we anticipated, so again, we're planning on getting on a plane Thursday and playing a great game Friday."

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