When it comes to scheduling arrangements involving a Power Five and Group of Five program, this is certainly an interesting one.
Both Florida and USF announced Tuesday a future series between the two schools. As part of the three-game series, the Bulls will travel to Gainesville’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for two of the matchups — Sept. 17, 2022, and Sept. 6, 2025. In between is the interesting aspect as the Gators will make the trek south to play at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.
That latter game will mark the first time ever the two teams will square off in Tampa.
“We are very excited for our program and our fans to add three games against the University of Florida to our schedule,” a statement from USF athletic director Mark Harlan began. “I would like to thank Coach Strong for his desire to play a challenging non-conference schedule and the leadership at Florida for their partnership in making this happen. We are committed to scheduling opponents that our fans are excited to see the Bulls compete against and Florida certainly ranks very high on that list.”
“This is a unique scheduling opportunity that allows us to get three games against a quality FBS opponent, with two at home and one in a great venue in Tampa,” Harlan’s UF counterpart, Scott Stricklin, said in his statement. “A lot of Gator fans will have the opportunity to attend that game and we are looking forward to being able to play a regular-season game in central Florida.”
The two teams have met just once previously. In Week 2 of the 2010 season, the Gators dropped the Bulls 38-14 in The Swamp in what turned out to be Urban Meyer‘s final season with the program.
Charlie Strong, the current USF head coach, was in his first season in the same job at Louisville that year after spending the previous seven seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Gators. UF’s current head coach, Dan Mullen, spent four years as Meyer’s offensive coordinator before taking over at Mississippi State in 2009.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to host South Florida twice in The Swamp and also play them in Raymond James Stadium,” Mullen said. “The Tampa/St. Petersburg area is an important recruiting footprint for us and our players will love playing another game in an NFL stadium.”