Florida-Miami back on? Not so fast says Foley

When the Gators traveled down to Miami Gardens to take on the Miami Hurricanes in week two of the 2013 season, it appeared to be the last time that the two rivals would face off in the regular season. Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley is intent on playing seven home games a season, something that can’t happen with a rotating home-and-home with FSU and Miami as well as a game in Jacksonville with Georgia.

The Florida-Florida State rivalry isn’t going anywhere and the neutral site between Florida and Georgia is contractually protected until at least 2016. The odd man out was the Miami series, which has not been renewed.

On Monday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that the series may not be dead and that the two athletic directors have had dialogue about renewing the series — with a caveat, however.

According to Jackson, Miami Athletic Director Blake James said that Foley was receptive to the idea of renewing the series between the two schools but that Florida would only be interested if the game was at a neutral site.

“I would have to think about Orlando,” James told the Herald. “That’s not real neutral but it’s an easy distance to our campus.”

After speaking about how he enjoys the greatness of traditional rivalries, Will Muschamp addressed the reports that Florida and Miami could be eying a future revitalization of a once great rivalry.

“That’d be really good for us and really good for the state of Florida,” he said. “That’s something Jeremy [Foley] and I have talked about.”

One problem has been how much uncertainty surrounded the future of the SEC schedule.

“We’ve been in such a holding pattern scheduling-wise for several years because of the unknowns of what our league was going to do,” Muschamp said. “Whether it was going to be an eight-game or nine-game schedule.”

The league solved that problem more than a month ago, sticking with an eight-game, 6-1-1 format and released the cross-divisional rotation through 2025. That clarification gives Florida a lot of flexibility.

Other than the annual rivalry with FSU, a 2015 home contest with ECU and a 2017 game scheduled against Michigan in the Cowboy Classic, Florida has been quiet about their future non-conference schedule but adding Miami to what is an already stacked schedule year in and year out is something Muschamp would be open to.

“I’m open to it because I think it’s a great game,” he said. “I think it’d be a great leadoff game and that’s what it was for a long time. That’s what I grew up with in the ‘70s and early ‘80s was Florida-Miami leading the season off.”

However, Foley sat down with Steve Russell today on ESPN 850 WRUF and stated point blank that his conversation with Blake was no more than 10 seconds. Pat Dooley also wrote in his blog that Foley confirmed to him that the series would have to be played at a neutral site and the game would have to make financial sense to Florida.

Foley also stated during his interview with ESPN 850 WRUF that Florida is not interested in adding an additional yearly neutral site game because it takes games out of Gainesville. Those games are financially beneficial to the UAA and the community of Gainesville. He cited the 2017 matchup with Michigan as an opportunity to play a historic program and, obviously, the financial payday that will come when Florida and Michigan play is a huge.

It now appears that the snippet from Jackson’s report was a simple case of a molehill being turned into a mountain and the Florida-Miami series might be dead in the water.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. UF doesn’t want to play Miami. remember when UF dropped Miami in the late 80’s. The reason given was that UF “wanted to play a more national schedule.” That didn’t happen, instead we saw a lot of schools with Eastern, Western, Southern, etc. added to the schedule. That’s what happened and you can come to your own conclusion why UF dropped Miami in the first place, but it wasn’t for the reasons that were made public.

    • Could care less about playing Miami. Would welcome an upgrade on our non-conference schedule, as it is ridiculous to pay for season tickets, plus $500 per weekend for a hotel room to watch as many as 3 of our current home games!!! Until Hoover decides that we do not need to play both LSU and Ala out of the west, plus our annual game with FSU, I see no reason to further load our schedule. I expect us to be a much better football team this rear, but with our schedule it would be truly an achievement to win more than 8 games. A 9 win season does nothing for your national prominence and is not up to our level of expectation.

  2. The decision to drop Miami in the 80s was due to 2 things
    1) The SEC going to 7 games.
    2) Florida wanting to keep a more national schedule instead of Miami.

    The first year without Miami was 1988- the year the SEC went to 7 games. The next few years we also played Memphis, Rutgers, and Syracuse and played AWAY games at those places. (The “National: schedule.) So it had nothing to do with adding a directional school but it could be argued Miami was a better game than Rutgers or Memphis. (Though we lost or tied those teams.)

    Perhaps we would have added a Michigan or USC in future years but the SEC went to 8 games in 1992 so that took away the “national” game.

  3. The Question appears to be purely financial. Would UF make as much money playing miami in Orlando as it does playing Eastern Kentucky in the swamp? The answer is maybe. If you consider that the primary rake on ticket sales is the mandatory donation that comes with season tickets, removing one game won’t necessarily remove one 7th of the budget. Against Miami we wouldn’t have to pay the sacrificial lamb fee to the opponent and the TV value would be higher. It’s possible that a neutral site game against Miami could provide as much money as the lowest grossing home game. But J Foley would know better than me.