Florida, Miami receive approval to open 2019 season a week early on Aug. 24 in Orlando


Week "0" of the 2019 college football season -- the 150th season in all -- will begin with a marquee game that was originally scheduled for the more widespread opening week. It was announced on Thursday that Florida and Miami -- along with ESPN -- have received approval to have the game pushed up to Saturday, Aug. 24 from its original scheduled date of Saturday, Aug. 31. The game will still be played in Camping World Stadium. in Orlando, Florida.

"Moving the Camping World Kickoff to Aug. 24 is a unique and rare opportunity that showcases college football, both storied programs, and the state of Florida," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a release. "By mid-August the public is hungry for college football, and America is now going to be able to watch the Gators and Hurricanes in a marquee game a week earlier than usual. I'd anticipate the exposure for the sport of college football, and both schools, to be immense.

This will be the earliest that either the Gators or Canes begin a college football season. As the 2019 campaign features two bye weeks for every college football team, Florida and Miami will have three with Aug. 31 moving to an open date for both schools.

"There has been a lot of moving parts over the past few months and we're thankful for the NCAA, ESPN, Florida Citrus Sports, Miami and College Football's 150th Anniversary Organization for their cooperation during this process. I'd also like to thank the fans from both schools for their understanding of the date change."

Now that it has come to fruition and received formal NCAA approval, the proper plans and arrangements can be made by fans. The two teams needed to get approval because it will also force the two programs to open their preseason camps earlier than normal. Arizona and Hawaii are also scheduled to play on the Aug. 24 as part of the more recent Week 0 games.  

"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's director of athletics Blake James said. "After consulting with [new MIami 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.
"I want to thank the NCAA, ESPN, Florida Citrus Sports, CFB150, Inc., and the University of Florida for their cooperation and support throughout this process. We understand that the new game date could affect Hurricanes fans who had already made travel plans for the original game date. 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."

Florida finished the 2018 season with a 10-3 record and a victory over Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Miami went 7-6 a season ago and coach Mark Richt resigned from his position. This will be the first season for Diaz. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series with the Gators 29-26.

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