Auburn officials huddled on Friday morning to come up with a decision on the game, which was put in doubt when former hurricane Ivan began to threaten a landfall on the Gulf of Mexico coast south of Auburn.
By the time the Ivan reached the Auburn area as a tropical storm, it caused heavy rain on Thursday, but the winds were significantly lighter than forecast. The Auburn area suffered little damage from the tropical storm.
The decision to play the game was made after Auburn's interim president, Dr. Ed Richardson, met with campus officials, city and county officials concerning the logistics of playing the contest this weekend.
Auburn athletic director David Housel said on Friday, “We looked at all of the variables, we got all of the assessments and we have looked at the availability of security personnel and we made the decision to go ahead. The weather should be great for the game.
“We have been in touch with state officials and officials at hotels across the area and made the decision to go ahead. We know it is going to be an inconvenience, but we are going to play. Everything is going according to the original schedule.”
LSU is scheduled to fly out of Baton Rouge late on Friday afternoon as originally scheduled. Roads in the Auburn area are clear and there was virtually no damage in Lee County, area law enforcement officials said on Friday morning.
“It is not going to be a normal day because of all that has happened, but we expect to be at or a full capacity with security officials,” Housel said. “We would ask that fans be patient with each other and tolerant of the inconveniences, but we are going to play at 2:30 p.m. I would recommend people come early. There were no problems at LSU and no problems at Auburn so why not play.”
The game is the SEC season opener for fourth-ranked LSU, which won the conference title last season and shared the national championship with Southern Cal. LSU opened the season with 22-21 overtime victory over Oregon State and pounded Arkansas State 53-3 last Saturday. Both of those games were played in Baton Rouge.
Auburn, which is ranked 14th, is 1-0 in the league and 2-0 overall. The Tigers blanked Louisiana-Monroe 31-0 in the opener and began league play with a 43-14 victory last Saturday at Mississippi State.
LSU coach Nick Saban has a 2-2 record in games vs. Auburn.
Auburn's interim president had the final call on whether to play or not to play the game on Saturday. Richardson commented, "We weighed many factors in making this decision, including ease of travel, property damage, the condition of campus and availability of public safety personnel."
Auburn will be looking to avenge a 31-7 loss to LSU last season in Baton Rouge. Auburn was a 31-7 over LSU two years ago in a game played at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said on Friday, "We feel like we've had good preparation for the game. We used yesterday to do walk-throughs and mentally go over the game plan. Despite all the changes with moving to the hotel and everything, we feel
like our team has responded well. We're ready to play.
"I've been through hurricanes before and situation around us is a lot worse for other people then it is here. I know a lot of people have had
difficulty and I hope this game can bring a smile to their faces."
This year’s game will be televised nationally by CBS. If the contest would have been postponed, it was scheduled to be made up on Nov. 6th.