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Florida, Michigan to open 2017 season in Cowboys Classic

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Michigan played in the 2012 Cowboys Classic against Alabama.  (USATSI)
Michigan played in the 2012 Cowboys Classic against Alabama. (USATSI)

Florida and Michigan will kick off the 2017 season in the home of the Dallas Cowboys, continuing the tradition of high profile matchups in AT&T Stadium on the first weekend of the season.

The game, set for Sept. 2, 2017, will be Michigan's second appearance in the Cowboys Classic. The Wolverines played in the annual showcase game in 2012 against Alabama, a 41-14 loss.

"We are excited to make a return trip to Dallas for the Cowboys Classic against Florida," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said in a school release. "This is a great way to reach our fan base in the south and to continue to expand our recruiting efforts in the state of Texas. Our goal is to have as many Michigan fans at the game as possible.

"Florida has been one of college football's best programs over the past 20 years, and we are excited to face the Gators in a regular season football game for the first time ever."

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said that the Cowboys Classic -- a rare out-of-state non-conference game for the Gators -- was "something that our fans would embrace."

Florida's last non-conference regular season game outside the state of Florida was a 1991 meeting with Syracuse.

Florida and Michigan have met twice in the postseason; both Wolverines victories -- 38-30 in the 2003 Outback Bowl and 41-35 in the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

The 2014 Cowboys Classic will feature Florida State and Oklahoma State, while the 2015 game is currently scheduled to have Alabama returning to AT&T Stadium to face Wisconsin.

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