The Florida-Miami rivalry may have one more chapter ahead.
The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Florida and Miami are close to renewing their rivalry in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl in 2019. Again, the deal has not been finalized, as things could always fall through at the very end, but it’s reportedly “very, very close” to being done.
Florida and Miami used to be annual Thanksgiving rivals, but conference expansion killed it in 1988 (Miami fans will say that Florida ducked out of the rivalry, and there may be a bit of truth to that, too). The Gators and Canes have only played six times since then: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2013. The 2002-2003 and 2008 & 2013 games were played on a home and home basis, with Florida hosting the first one and then paying Miami the return trip on the later date. But Florida AD Jeremy Foley has adamantly declared that he wants to host seven games a year in the Swamp, which has been the main reason why these two teams don’t play every year; a neutral site game is still technically costing Florida a home game, but with each side getting half the tickets, it wouldn’t be too big a loss financially.
This particular game has been in the works for some time now. Rumors of another Florida-Miami game began circulating last May, and talks between the two schools have supposedly been going on ever since the buildup to the 2013 game. It’s good to finally see something so close to coming out of it, as this is a rivalry that’s been reduced to the recruiting trail when all real rivalries are played out on the field.