1918 epidemic also affected UF football

UF coach Al Buser in 1917. [Courtesy of UAA]

This isn’t the first time sports (and, of course, life) has been affected by a global pandemic.

In 1918 the influenza epidemic put the brakes on most of a Florida football season. That pandemic is estimated to have infected about 500 million people worldwide and led to at least 50 million deaths, with about 675,000 occurring in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This was also as World War I was ending, so there weren’t a lot of able bodies on the campuses around America.

Florida played only one game that year with a patchwork team, losing 14-2 to Camp Johnston of Jacksonville. The coach was Alfred L. Buser.

Texas, on the other hand, played nine games and Georgia Tech and Clemson each played seven.