The Gators’ 2021 schedule has been set.
Florida filled the last remaining date on its 2021 slate by adding a home game with Florida Atlantic on September 4th to open the season. The Gators also have a “road” game against South Florida the following week in Tampa (which, let’s face it, should be 70/30 for USF at worst given the prevalence of Gator fans in the Tampa Bay Area) and a home game against FCS opponent Samford on a date to be determined later. And as usual, Florida will finish the season against FSU in the Swamp.
It’s not exactly a “rivalry” game so to speak, but these teams do have an interesting little history. Florida owns the all-time series against FAU 3-0, clobbering the Owls 59-20 in 2007 and 41-3 in 2011. Then came the 2015 terror, when Jim McElwain made the dreadful mistake of referring to FAU as “a bunch of guys who wish they were Gators” the week before the game. As a result, a 2-9 FAU squad came into the Swamp, battled 8th ranked and 9-1 Florida to a scoreless deadlock at halftime and took the game into overtime before ultimately falling short on a fourth down desperation heave. Florida would survive, 20-14.
The real intrigue of this game, though, comes with the fact that the Owls’ current coach is Lane Kiffin, and unless he gets fired or jumps ship in the next 24 months, will make his long awaited return to the Swamp. Some may remember him as Monte Kiffin’s son. Others may remember him as the guy who got fired from his USC job on the airport runway. But every Gator fan older than twelve knows him as the guy who publicly antagonized Florida and Urban Meyer, first by claiming that Tennessee would beat Florida and then celebrate by singing Rocky Top all night long, then by falsely accusing Meyer of cheating on the recruiting trail (which triggered a forced apology) and for a finale, dismissing the idea that Florida had “only” beaten Tennessee by ten points because several Gator players had the flu.
This game should be fun.