Florida-Miami football game may open season earlier than expected at ESPN’s request

By Adam Silverstein
February 27, 2019
Florida-Miami football game may open season earlier than expected at ESPN’s request

Image Credit: Twitter / GatorsFB

A long-rumored potential change may indeed be implemented for the much-anticipated 2019 season opener between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes in Orlando, Florida. Instead of kicking off as planned on Aug. 31, the teams are waiting for word from the NCAA about moving game up one week to Aug. 24.

Florida and Miami released a joint statement on Thursday about the request.

“This past December, Miami, Florida and Florida Citrus Sports were approached by ESPN, who had the College Football 150th organization’s support (the entity overseeing the upcoming season-long celebration), to explore interest in moving the Camping World Kickoff game in Orlando to August 24 as part of a special kick off day celebrating the sports 150th anniversary season. This is a unique and rare opportunity that would showcase college football, both storied programs, and the state of Florida. In January, a waiver was submitted to the NCAA seeking approval to move the game under this premise. Both schools, along with ESPN, College Football 150th Anniversary organization and Florida Citrus Sports, understand that fans, and the teams themselves, need time to make necessary arrangements should the waiver be granted. A decision is anticipated shortly.”

In attendance at a Gator Gathering stop for head coach Dan Mullen’s speaking tour on Wednesday night in West Palm Beach, Florida, OnlyGators.com received no formal comment from the program when a question was posed about the game potentially moving from the formal Week 1 to so-called Week 0 of the 2019 schedule. This line of questioning was raised a couple hours before the Sentinel‘s report.

If Florida and Miami do end up playing on Aug. 24, it would be the earliest that either team has kicked off a football season. It appears as if the programs and Camping World Stadium have already approved the change — as per the above statement — but the NCAA must sign off on any schedule adjustments. It would also need to improve the Gators and Canes starting their training camps one week earlier.

OnlyGators.com first reported late Wednesday that that the genesis of this request was ESPN, which wants a marquee game to lead off its coverage of the 150th college football season. No matter when the game is played, it will have a prime time kickoff, likely at 8 p.m. ET.

With the 2019 campaign beginning prior to September, teams will have two bye weeks this year. UF’s byes are scheduled for Oct. 26 and Nov. 23. However, should the Florida-Miami game get moved up one week, one would expect the Gators to 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.


  1. Daniel says:

    Extremely inconsiderate of game organizers if they change the date now. What about people who bought airline tickets? My friends and I already bought our game tickets and made lodging reservations. So have lots of other people. Shows you again that they care more about making money than they do about the fans.

    • KP says:

      I agree, I changed vacation plans to make sure I was in town to attend the game on Labour Day Weekend. Now if they switch I won’t be able to go after all. If they were going to change the date, they should’ve decided much further in advance.

  2. Mateo says:

    It’s pretty frustrating that the parties knew about the potential date change and still released tickets. A group of us already arranged work and family life to go to the game, bought tickets, reserved hotels, and bought plane tickets. Not happy.

  3. Lauretta Duggan says:

    I have reserved a house for 1600 for the weekend it is also my husbands birthday not to mention it’s a holiday weekend!! So inconsiderate I pray the fate isn’t changed as I cannot change the date on my house and paid extra for that weekend!!! Please don’t do it!!!!

  4. jrp says:

    I’m another person who made definitive plans to be in Orlando Labor Day weekend based on the scheduled game day. It will be difficult and expensive when this change is approved. I’ll likely have to cancel and take a $ loss. Thanks ESPN.

  5. Joyce Armbruster says:

    It is very inconsiderate of these two teams & ESPN to change the date of game. They obviously knew about this possible change before tickets went on sale. All the hotels close to stadium sold out immediately. What are people supposed to do if we have to change. Some hotels were only booking NON-REFUNDABLE rooms. Try thinking about your fans & alumni for a change!!!!!

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