There’s nothing like a little in state rivalry and even though they have met once before, the Florida Gators in the USF Bulls have announced on Tuesday that they have a new three-game series upcoming in the 2020s.
First, USF originally signed on to play Florida twice in Gainesville. The first of those match-ups was in 2010 during what turned out to be Urban Meyer’s final season with the Gators and Florida won easily over first-year Coach Skip Holtz’s team, 38-10.
Florida never agreed to the date of the future second meeting, and it’s not clear as to what happened with that game or if it’s part of the new deal announced today.
The first of the three-game series will be played in September of 2022 in Gainesville. Then, Florida will break its protocol of usually never playing a true road game in September and will agree to play USF in September of 2023 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The third and final game of the series will be scheduled for 2025 back in Gainesville.
Bulls beat writer, Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times had these details on the contract agreed to:
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) May 22, 2018
Make no mistake, that the relationship Bulls head coach and former Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong (above) has in Gainesville did have some influence with this happening. Strong was at Florida in two different stints for 15 total years.
So too, is the importance of new Florida athletic director for the last year-and-a-half, Scott Stricklin, who obviously has been willing to change things up. This included the Gators having played a huge opening game with Michigan last year at AT&T stadium in Arlington Texas, instead of easier opponents at home in “The Swamp.”
The announcement of the new series with the Gators means that USF will have to move their September 2022 home game with Florida Atlantic, and also their 2023 home game with San Jose State. It was not announced on Tuesday, when the Bulls will play the Owls. However, the San Jose State game has been moved forward by one week in 2023.
The SEC has made it clear to their schools that they need to rid themselves of playing non-FBS teams on their out of conference schedule. USF fits into this mold for Florida in the future. And, that obviously helped getting a multi-year series done.
And as for the Bulls, they are touting Tuesday that they will now play seven games against the ACC, three against the SEC, three against the Big 12 and two against the Big Ten over the next nine seasons.
That’s a significant upgrade of schedule.
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