Christmas has come early for the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines, according to a report from Scott Carter of GatorZone.com. On Thursday, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley announced that the two teams will open the 2017 season at AT&T Stadium for the “Cowboys Classic.”
That’s right, the University of Florida is stepping outside of the Sunshine State for an out-of-conference game. It’ll be the first time since the Gators played Syracuse in 1991.
For Foley, the opportunity to further expose Florida’s brand to the nation was too good to pass up.
“You don’t get these opportunities very often,” Foley said. “Our schedule has been pretty consistent through the years. We were presented this opportunity and just thought it was something that our fans would embrace, our program would embrace.
“It would give us great national visibility. Obviously, a very difficult ballgame against a storied program — that excites us.”
“This is a great opportunity to expose the University of Florida nationally, playing one of the greatest programs in the history of college football, I think a tremendous trip for our fans,” Foley said. “We just haven’t done much of this, certainly as long as I’ve been athletic director. I think there are a lot of positives that come out of it.”
It’ll be the second time Michigan has opened the season in AT&T Stadium. The Wolverines lost to eventual national champion Alabama in 2012.
The game, which is scheduled for Sept. 2, is a big draw for JerryWorld. Both Florida and Michigan rank in the top six of most valuable college football programs in the nation.