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Gators- Miami August game to move dates?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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