Florida already has a built-in marquee game every year, as the Gators take on Florida State in an annual rivalry game.
However, in today’s what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society, many are wondering why the Gators don’t schedule more early season big games.
This week, new coach Dan Mullen discussed the game with Florida State, saying it does limit what the Gators can do with the rest of their non-conference schedule (via 247Sports):
“We already play one of the toughest (schedules),” Mullen said last week in Lakeland. “You’re talking about already having Florida State as a permanent game. I think one of the things that does is it limits some of how you are able to schedule.
“Other schools say, like, ‘Boy, hey, we’re going to play a big-time opponent’ and they do, well, we do with Florida State. ‘Oh well, like, we already play that game, what about other big-time opponents?’ Well most other people they have the one big-time opponent a lot of them are playing and we already have that built into the schedule.”
Even with that said, Mullen added that he’s open to the idea of scheduling some more big season-opening contests against top-tier opponents:
“I wouldn’t be against traveling and playing some games just for exposure and for fun,” Mullen said, before laughing and continuing. “I know operations (go into it), but I’ll go play in London or Ireland or one of those, right? I know the entire athletic department is like ‘That’s a two-year trip, deal’ to get that set up to open the season and do something like that just for the exposure of the program.”
The Gators faced Michigan in Week 1 last season and will take on Miami in Orlando to kick off the 2019 campaign, so it’s not like they never schedule additional tough opponents. Still, it could become a more regular thing under Mullen.