Several months ago, a report surfaced that Florida and Miami were close to signing a deal to play each other in 2019.
Not much has been spoken about the topic since then- except for one sudden revival of the conversation two months ago. That was when the Palm Beach Post’s CanesWatch reported that Miami athletic director Blake James has confirmed that the two sides continue to discuss the potential renewal of the rivalry in 2019. But after that, the subject died again.
It’s now official, so let’s put it up with some fanfare: the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes will play each other on the football field once again. The game will be played in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to kick off the 2019 season.
Florida and Miami, as most of us know, used to face each other annually in a rivalry that was anything but pleasant. Some of the fonder memories of the series include Florida players jumping into the swimming pool at the old Orange Bowl to celebrate their quarterback, John Reaves, breaking the NCAA passing record, Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger running up the score with a late field goal and Florida coach Urban Meyer doing the same thing three decades later.
But since Florida backed out of the series in 1987, (yes, as a Gator fan, I will accept responsibility for that. It was shameful.) the teams have met sparingly: home and home series in 2002/2003 and 2008/2013, plus one meeting in a Sugar Bowl and another in a Peach Bowl. That’s it. I’d love to play the Hurricanes every year, especially since the SEC elected to keep its eight game conference schedule instead of adding a ninth, because it’s the type of big game that the players came to Florida to play in. And, you know, Presbyterian isn’t.
In any case, I’m just glad to see the two sides talking about playing each other again, let along actually signing pen to paper about it. I don’t really think Jeremy Foley liked how the 2013 game went at all, not just in terms of losing the game but also in terms of the atmosphere. The would explain why he doesn’t want to schedule home and home series with Miami anymore. But playing them on a neutral field is better than not playing them at all, especially since the Gators figure to have at least a 65/35 advantage in terms of fans (pretty much all other fan bases have accepted Miami as an e-fanbase) in the Citrus Bowl.
So, Jeremy Foley and Blake James: job well done.