The Miami football game against Florida to kick off the 2019 season gives the Hurricanes a unique opener in college football’s 150th season. Gators head coach Dan Mullen said it is an honor to be involved in that game and it the fact it is the only game played at that time.
The Miami football game against Florida is the first FBS game of 2019 college football season, the sport’s 150th. Miami and Florida will be playing for the 56th time, but the first since 2013. The Hurricanes have owned the Gators since Florida discontinued the annual rivalry after the 1987 season.
The Florida and Miami football programs have played six times since 1987 with the Hurricanes winning five. Miami won the first four of those meetings between 2001-04. Two of those games took place in bowl games. The Hurricanes won both, the 2001 Sugar Bowl following the 2000 season and the 2004 Peach Bowl.
Florida’s lone win came in 2008 with Miami bouncing back with the win in the 2013 game. Miami holds a 29-26 advantage all-time. The most memorable of the Hurricanes’ victories came in an epic 2003 comeback. Miami scored the final 28 points of that game in a 38-33 victory at the Orange Bowl.
This year’s game will be played on what is being billed as a neutral site game in Orlando. Miami linebacker Shaq Quarterman expressed doubt on WQAM this week that it will truly be a neutral site game. The game was moved up a week to be a part of the year-long celebration of the 150th season of College Football.
Mullen was asked at the nearly week-long SEC Media Days the importance of opening the season against the Miami football team and being able to build on the momentum of their blowout victory over Michigan in the Peach Bowl last season.
Question: Coach, how important is that Miami game in Orlando to open the season as far as keeping the momentum going that you guys built at the end of last year in the bowl game?
Dan Mullen: I think it’s huge. I mean, there’s a lot that goes into that game. We’re the opening game of the 150th year of college football. So it’s a great honor to just be involved in that game.
You have the — everyone that’s been really — can’t wait for college football to start, we get to kick the season off with getting to watch Florida play Miami. And on top of it, being a big rivalry game, you know, within the state of Florida.
And, you know, it’s not one that’s played all the time, but there’s a lot of tradition in that game and there’s a lot of people I feel have very strong opinions and are happy that that game’s being played, and to get to see that rivalry be played is really exciting.
And to start off the season. You know, I mean, it is — it is a huge — it’s going to be a huge, you know, kind of catapult for one of the teams. Whoever wins that game ends up really kicking off the season on the right note with a big win in a big game with a lot of national exposure.
It’s a big game for us. It’s exciting to be a part of it, and I know our players are excited to play in it.
In his second season in Gainesville, this will obviously be Mullen’s first game coaching the Gators against the Hurricanes. Mullen and Miami head coach Manny Diaz have a history together. Diaz was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State under Mullen in 2010 and 2015.
Diaz left Missiisppi State after the 2015 season to join Mark Richt’s staff at Miami to become the defensive coordinator. It was a move that would set the foundation for Diaz to become the head coach of the Hurricanes three years later.