The Gators and the Hurricanes had already decided to renew their rivalry at a neutral site in Orlando the first weekend of the college football season. Now, it appears they want to get started even sooner.
This, after reports surfaced Thursday morning that the Florida-Miami game may very well be moving to Saturday night August 24th, a full week earlier than most other programs will be starting:
Pending approval by NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, Florida-Miami opener in Orlando will be moved from Aug. 31 to Aug. 24 w/a primetime kickoff, sources told @Stadium. 1st reported by Orlando Sentinel. Only other FBS game that day is Arizona at Hawaii
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) February 28, 2019
The motivation behind this is because, the game has enough significance as a “standalone” that Saturday night of what’s now been dubbed “Weekend Zero, ” that it will likely create great interest for ESPN to televise it.
Florida and Miami signed on to meet each other at Camping World Stadium in the opening game of 2019 a few years ago, and thereby, renew their rivalry which spans all the way back to the first meeting in Gainesville in 1938.
The two teams last played in September of 2013 at what is now Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens with the Canes winning 21 – 16.
Although the two schools used to play regularly throughout the 50s through the 1980s, the rivalry went on ice after 1987 with the rise of the Miami program. Also, at that same time Gators decided to take a scheduling philosophy of wanting to play two easy September opponents at home to start every season before their tougher SEC schedule.
The Rivalry revived in the 2001 Sugar Bowl, which was won by the Hurricanes. Then, it did so again in a two-game series in 2002 in Gainesville and the return game in 2003 in Miami. Both of those were also won by the Hurricanes convincingly.
Miami leads the overall series 29-26, and in addition to playing in bowl games, the two played in a memorable 1984 neutral field classic in Tampa, where Miami won that one on a TD pass from Bernie Kosar to Eddie Brown in the final seconds. The game featured more than 30 players total that went on to play in the NFL.
And, this game will mark the first in the rivalry for second-year Florida Coach Dan Mullen and obviously, for first-year new Miami boss, Manny Diaz.
The Gators finished 10-3 ranked #6 in the final CFP rankings with their Peach Bowl win over Michign on New Year’s Day.
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