Moments ago, the University of Miami announced that the season opening game against the Florida Gators has officially been moved. This move, which required NCAA approval, means Canes-Gators will be the official kickoff of College Football’s 150th season.
Here is the release on the changed game date from Miami Athletics:
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami -- in conjunction with the University of Florida, Florida Citrus Sports, ESPN and CFB150, Inc. – announced Thursday that the Hurricanes’ season opener against Florida in the Camping World Kickoff has been moved to Saturday, Aug. 24.
The game, which will be held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, was originally scheduled for Aug. 31. The date change was approved by the NCAA Thursday. The matchup will be televised by ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.
Manny Diaz’s first game as head coach of the Hurricanes will also be UM’s first meeting with Florida since 2013, a 21-16 Miami home win. The series started in 1938 and this is the first time the two teams have played at a neutral site in the regular season since Miami’s 32-20 win at Tampa Stadium in 1984. The Hurricanes lead the overall series, 29-26, and have won seven of the past eight meetings.
“ESPN approached both UM and Florida with the unique idea to broadcast this matchup as the culmination of a daylong celebration of college football’s 150thanniversary season,” Director of Athletics Blake James said. “After consulting with Manny, we agreed that this would be a tremendous opportunity to showcase Hurricanes football – both our present team and our long, storied tradition – on a national stage.
“I want to thank the NCAA, ESPN, Florida Citrus Sports, CFB150, Inc., and the University of Florida for their cooperation and support throughout this process. We understand that the new game date could affect Hurricanes fans who had already made travel plans for the original game date. We will work diligently with any of those affected to help ensure that they can still attend the Camping World Kickoff and have a great experience.”
Both schools have had conversations with primary air carriers asking that they provide relief for fans who need to change their plans. Florida Citrus Sports is also in contact with the Orlando tourism and lodging community and will enlist their support to accommodate travel revisions prompted by the change in game date.
We’ve discussed the pros and cons of this new date, but having a spotlight game is a big deal. The main SB Nation site also talked about some of the issues with moving the game up to the 24th. On August 31st, Miami-UF would have been one of several kickoff classics. Instead, this game takes center stage, and that’s pretty cool.
The main take-away, for me, is that both schools have had conversations with primary carriers and the Orlando tourism and lodging community to help accommodate changing plans for those who are going to the game. No, I don’t have further details on that at this time, but the fact that conversations have already been had could (should?) make the flight and hotel changing process easier than it otherwise would have been.
So that’s it, guys.
August 24th. Orlando, here we come.