Gators to kickoff in Cowboy Classic

No more directional schools or sacrificial lambs to open the season. No sir, 2017 will be different than recent years for the Gators.

The University of Florida announced on Thursday that they have agreed on a matchup with the University of Michigan and the two schools will kick off the 2017 season in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. The game will be played in prime time on Sept. 2.

The game marks the first time that Florida will play a an out of state regular season game against a non-conference opponent since they played Syracuse in 1991.

“You don’t get these opportunities very often,”’ UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Our schedule has been pretty consistent through the years. We were presented this opportunity and just thought it was something that our fans would embrace, our program would embrace.”

Both schools will be allotted 25,000 tickets but the stadium nicknamed “Jerry’s World” holds more than 90,000 and seating can be expanded to house more than 100,000 fans.

This is the first time Florida will participate in the Cowboy Classic, but not the first time for their adversaries from up north. The Wolverines met Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide in 2012 — a game Michigan lost 41-14. In fact, Michigan has lost three straight games to SEC teams dating back to 2010.

The Cowboy Classic is a grand venue and a chance for both schools to kick of their season on the national stage — an opportunity too good to pass up according to Foley.

“It would give us great national visibility. Obviously, a very difficult ballgame against a storied program — that excites us.”

Foley called the game, “very much the exception not the rule,” during his time as athletic director but an opportunity that was simply too good to pass up for the program and its fans.

“This is a great opportunity to expose the University of Florida nationally, playing one of the greatest programs in the history of college football, I think a tremendous trip for our fans,” Foley said. “We just haven’t done much of this, certainly as long as I’ve been athletic director. I think there are a lot of positives that come out of it.”

Broadcast and ticket information have yet to be announced.

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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