Ranking Florida's top 5 future nonconference opponents
There’s a trend going around college football as the top teams schedule other top teams for home-and-home series. Though many of the series won’t happen until later this decade and into the 2030s, it’s still great to see them being scheduled.
The Florida Gators are no exception to that new trend, as they’ve booked several big-name opponents for the coming seasons.
So, who are their top 5 future nonconference opponents? Here’s our ranking of future Gator foes:
1. Texas (2030, 2031)
A number of top SEC teams are scheduling the Longhorns these days, and the Gators have a home-and-home with them as well. The 2030 game will be in Gainesville and the 2031 contest will take place in Austin.
Both of these programs have storied histories. This series will feature 2 big-time teams playing for potential College Football Playoff spots.
2. Miami (2024, 2025)
It was fun to watch the Gators and Hurricanes meet in Week 0 this past year. Now, the 2 Sunshine State rivals will meet up again in the coming years. The 2024 game will be played in Gainesville and the 2025 contest will be in Miami.
This would be No. 1 on the list if the Hurricanes were better. But, for the moment, coach Manny Diaz has a rebuilding process ahead of him. It’ll be nearly impossible to get the Hurricanes on Clemson’s level in the ACC by 2024, but it’d be nice for the Gators’ strength of schedule to get them back in the New Year’s 6 conversation by then.
3. Colorado (2028, 2029)
The Buffaloes lost coach Mel Tucker to Michigan State after only 1 season, and they haven’t fared particularly well in the Pac-12 the past few years. However, seeing the Gators go up to Boulder in 2029 (with the 2028 game being in Gainesville) will be a lot of fun.
Playing at altitude isn’t easy, and with 8 years to prepare for this series, it’ll be interesting to see where both programs are by the time these games roll around.
4. Cal (2026, 2027)
These 2 teams are located really far apart (2,776 miles away), so there will be quite the travel for each team. Cal heads to Florida in 2026 and the Gators make the long return trip in 2027.
The Bears just finished off a home-and-home series against Ole Miss, winning in Berkeley in 2017 and in Oxford in 2019. They also have a home-and-home with Auburn before playing the Gators. Can the Bears continue to have success against the SEC?
5. Utah (2022, 2023)
The battle of 2 teams that Urban Meyer used to coach? That will be fun to see. And, it’s probably a safe bet that Meyer will show up to one or both of these games.
Plus, add in the fact that the Gators are looking like they’ll be competitive in the SEC East and the Utes will be competitive in the Pac-12 when these teams square off in Gainesville in 2022 and Salt Lake City in 2023 and this could be a great series.