GAINESVILLE -- Rivalry renewed?
The Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes are close to agreeing to a deal to open the 2019 season at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"Although the deal has not yet been signed and a last-minute snag in negotiations is always a possibility, it certainly appears the Gators and Hurricanes will renew their once-annual rivalry for the first time since 2013.
Florida-Miami would also be another premier neutral site game for the Citrus Bowl, which will host Florida State-Ole Miss next season and Alabama-Louisville in 2018. Florida Citrus Sports is also apparently in negotiations to bring a marquee college football match-up to the Citrus Bowl in 2017.
“While we won’t comment on this report, we’re always exploring future scheduling options,” UF spokesperson Steve McClain told the Orlando Sentinel."
However, Hurricanes athletics director Blake James told the Miami Herald, “I wouldn’t say we’re close because I don’t even have a contract.
“Is there interest in playing Florida? There is. Is it something that I think is right for us from a fans’ standpoint, from a financial standpoint and right for our program? Those are all things I’m interested in evaluating. And do I think there’s a possibility we play them there? Yeah. But until we have a contract I wouldn’t say we’re close.”
Blake added, “I have an interest in seeing if we can have our football program play Florida. I think it’s good for college football and good for our fans. We’re interested in that. And if it works out that we can play them in Orlando in ’19, I think that’s great.’’
Florida and Miami played annually until 1987, when the rivalry was discontinued.
The two schools have met another six times since then, including a 21-16 win by the Hurricanes in 2013.
Gators athletics director Jeremy Foley has insisted over the years Florida is only interested in renewing the series if the games are hosted at a neutral site, with James telling the Miami Herald in May 2014 that Foley was “receptive” to the idea.
“I would have to think about Orlando,” James said.
“That’s not real neutral, but it’s an easy distance to our campus.”
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