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Dan Mullen open to restarting Florida Gators-Miami Hurricanes series

Mullen wants to see what kind of excitement builds around their season opener first.
 
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen addresses reporters Tuesday during the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. (MATT BAKER | TIMES)
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen addresses reporters Tuesday during the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. (MATT BAKER | TIMES)
Published May 29, 2019|Updated May 29, 2019

DESTIN — Florida’s Aug. 24 season opener against Miami will rekindle a rivalry that has ebbed over the last three decades.

The Gators haven’t talked with Miami officials about turning the neutral-site game against Orlando into a series, but they’re willing to discuss it.

“We’re open as we go down the road to periodically playing them,” UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “I don’t know that we’d want to make it an every-year thing. I think our FSU series shows that when you do something like that every year, people take it for granted. When we do play Miami, I want it to be something people look forward to.”

Gators coach Dan Mullen is also open to adding to an in-state rivalry that took place annually from 1938-87 before cooling. But Mullen wants to see how the game at Camping World Stadium goes first.

“Not the result of the game,” Mullen said. “But I just want to see what the actual excitement around the game is, what it means to different people.”

More UF scheduling

For the second year in a row, the Gators’ home schedule features a pair of Division I-AA opponents, Tennessee-Martin and Towson.

“It’s an anomaly,” Stricklin said. “It’s not something we’re going to do traditionally. It was a short-term fix.”

The fix was necessary because UF had an open spot on its schedule. Stricklin said the Gators opted to pay Towson $500,000 instead of paying a “directional FBS school” four times that.

“That made no sense to me financially,” Stricklin said.

Even with the two lower-level cupcakes Stricklin said UF will still have one of the toughest schedules in the country with eight SEC games plus Florida State and Miami.