Florida-Miami football game to open 2019 season one week earlier than originally scheduled

By Adam Silverstein
March 7, 2019
Florida-Miami football game to open 2019 season one week earlier than originally scheduled
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

A long-rumored change to the date of the much-anticipated 2019 season opener between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes in Orlando, Florida, has been finalized. Instead of kicking off as planned on Saturday, Aug. 31, the teams will play the first game of the 150th season of college football on Saturday, Aug. 24 with a kickoff at 7 p.m. ET. The NCAA approved the waivers submitted by Florida and Miami at the request of ESPN.

“Moving the Camping World Kickoff to Aug. 24 is a unique and rare opportunity that showcases college football, both storied programs, and the state of Florida,” Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a release. “By mid-August the public is hungry for college football, and America is now going to be able to watch the Gators and Hurricanes in a marquee game a week earlier than usual. I’d anticipate the exposure for the sport of college football, and both schools, to be immense. There has been a lot of moving parts over the past few months and we’re thankful for the NCAA, ESPN, Florida Citrus Sports, Miami and College Football’s 150th Anniversary Organization for their cooperation during this process. I’d also like to thank the fans from both schools for their understanding of the date change.”

With the Gators and Hurricanes playing on Aug. 24, it will be the earliest that either team has kicked off a football season. The teams will also start their training camps one week earlier.

OnlyGators.com first reported last week that that the genesis of this request was ESPN, which wanted a marquee game to lead off its coverage of the 150th college football season.

With the 2019 campaign beginning prior to September, all teams will have two bye weeks this year. UF’s byes are scheduled for Oct. 26 and Nov. 23. However, with Florida-Miami game getting moved up one week, the Gators will have three off weeks, a true rarity.

The Canes are 29-26 all-time in the series with wins in seven off the teams’ last eight meetings dating back to 1986.

In their release, the Gators said “both schools have had conversations with primary air carriers” and the “Orlando tourism and lodging community” to provide relief and assistance to fans who need to rebook their travel. No further information or details are provided as to what sort of help will be provided.

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