Season opener between Hurricanes, Gators officially moved to Aug. 24

Game to be nationally televised on ESPN after waiver approved by NCAA

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel is tackled by Miami Hurricanes defenders during their last meeting, Sept. 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - It's official: the grudge match between the University of Miami and University of Florida is coming a week before it was previously scheduled.

The NCAA officially approved a waiver Thursday allowing the season opener between the Hurricanes and Gators in Orlando to be moved from Aug. 31 to Aug. 24.

"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 150th anniversary season," Miami athletic director Blake James said in a statement. "After consulting with (head coach) Manny (Diaz), 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."

The game will be nationally televised at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

ESPN asked both schools and Florida Citrus Sports, which is organizing the neutral-site game at Camping World Stadium, in December "to explore interest" in moving the game up a week. But doing so required the blessing of the NCAA.

"We understand that the new game date could affect Hurricanes fans who had already made travel plans for the original game date," James said. "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."

Miami and Florida played annually from 1944 until 1987, but the schools have only met six times since.

The Hurricanes won the last meeting, 21-16, at home in 2013.

Miami leads the all-time series 29-26 and has won seven of the last eight meetings dating to 1986.

Florida discontinued the rivalry on an annual basis after the 1987 season. The teams met for the first time in 13 seasons in the 2001 Sugar Bowl -- a 37-20 win for Miami.

AP Photo/Phil Sandlin

Florida Gators quarterback Jimmy Fisher looks for a receiver as he runs to elude a Miami Hurricanes player, Nov. 29, 1976, in Orlando, Florida. The Gators' 19-10 victory was the last time the teams met in Orlando.

It almost felt like the rivalry had been reestablished when the teams met for four straight calendar years. After the Sugar Bowl, the teams met in a home-and-home series in 2002 and 2003 and played in the 2004 Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve. Miami won every game.

Florida snapped a six-game losing streak in a 26-3 victory in Gainesville in 2008, but the Hurricanes have laid claim to the Seminole War Canoe, presented to the winning team, since 2013.

This will be the first meeting between the schools in Orlando since Florida's 19-10 win in 1976.

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