The SEC has announced kickoff times for two of Florida’s first three games of the 2014 football season. And to Florida fans’ collective joy, neither of them are in that dreaded noon slot.
Florida’s game against Eastern Michigan in the Swamp on September 6th is set to begin at 4pm, while the following week’s game against Kentucky- also in the Swamp- will kick off at 7:30pm. Both will be televised by the new SEC Network.
In addition, Florida’s annual game with Georgia will kick off at 3:30pm from Jacksonville as it always does. That game will air on CBS, as it has every year since 1995 with the exception of the 2002 game.
Later games are always better for Florida for a plethora of reasons. It makes driving to the game much easier for Gator fans from somewhat nearby cities (Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and southern Georgia). It also doesn’t scare fans with the promise of sitting in Satan’s den and roasting for three and a half hours the way noon kickoffs, especially this early in the season, do. These two facts combine for a greater attendance, and a louder Swamp, should Florida need it.
Also, it means the players won’t be in danger of getting extremely sick. In last year’s opener against Toledo (which was brilliantly scheduled for 12:21pm), running back Mack Brown was shown vomiting twice on the sidelines; several players have subsequently told me that he vomited twice more in the locker room. That’s not what Florida needs.
If nothing else, getting word on these start times in exciting for me, because it means Gator football is that much closer.