McElwain praises Richt as Gators-Canes game deal nears

By Adam Silverstein
April 13, 2016
McElwain praises Richt as Gators-Canes game deal nears
Football

With the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes wanting to continue their rivalry in some form but a variety of factors making an annual game difficult, playing a neutral-site contest in the renovated Citrus Bowl in Orlando has been a topic of conversation for quite some time.

Miami’s administration has noted on numerous occasions that a deal with Florida was being worked on for a game in 2019, and Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley confirmed as much to the Gainesville Sun on Wednesday, noting that a deal is close.

“There’s a very good chance it will happen but that’s not final yet,” Foley told the paper. “I’m confident it will happen. We still have to dot some Is and cross some Ts on that. Hopefully, we’ll know something in the next couple of months.”

The UF-UM game could potentially open the 2019 season, and though it would certainly be exciting for both fan bases, the renewed rivalry would not continue annually. Perhaps an agreement that works to the benefit of all parties involved could at least make the games more regular.

Florida and Miami played every year but one (1943) from 1938-1987. Since then, the teams have squared off six times (all since 2001) with two of those contests occurring in bowl games. The teams have only played twice in the last eight years.

During a speaking engagement on Tuesday in Gainesville, Gators head coach Jim McElwain said his team is not “dodging” the Canes by any means and a game between the programs is of interest.

In South Florida for on Wednesday, McElwain spoke specifically about Miami coach Mark Richt, who as Georgia’s coach was 5-10 against Florida with two straight losses.

“I was kind of wishing maybe he’d get a job somewhere else,” McElwain said in a joking fashion. “I know this: He’ll do an outstanding job. He’ll put a great program together and put a good product on the map.”

Whether McElwain will get to share those sentiments with Richt in the middle of the Citrus Bowl field in three-plus years, that’s still to be determined.

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