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Florida Gov. DeSantis wants to see UF-FSU played

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 2:41 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the first time in over six decades Florida’s rivalry game against Florida State is not happening. However, Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to prevent that.

“We do have a situation coming up where we’re going to have a college football season without Florida playing Florida State,” DeSantis said during his Thursday press conference. “I just want to say, that as the governor, I would like to see a way for that game to happen. I think this is a very fluid situation, but it’s an epic rivalry and if you’re able to play, you’re able to play. So let’s give the fans what they want. So we may be working on that over the next couple of weeks.”

The first Florida, FSU match-up was played in 1958 after the University of Florida received a little push from the state legislature to schedule the yearly game.

UF athletics director Scott Stricklin has been a vocal proponent of having the match-up in 2020. However, the Southeastern conference made the decision to move to a 10-game, conference only schedule, which means the Gators would no longer face off against the Seminoles.

“On the disappointing side, (playing) FSU was a priority and because of where the league landed, we’re not going to be able to do that,” Stricklin said on a Zoom call with the media last week. “I don’t really think that’s where we want to be. We look forward to playing that game every year and had some success in recent years playing it.

“We were looking forward to playing it again this year. We’re just not going to because of circumstances beyond our control. We’ve got a virus that has changed a lot of things. This is unfortunately one of them. So really disappointed in that.

“Wish there was a way we could figure that out. But we’ll respect the decision we made as a league and look forward to try to support our coaches and athletes in as safe a way as possible,” added Stricklin. “We wanted to play our in-state rival but for all the talk about that, we got a pandemic going on. This is totally changing what normal is.

“As members of the SEC we’re kind of bound by their rules,” he added. “And right now they’ve precluded all non-conference activity in the sport of football for this year. So as difficult as that is for us all in the state of Florida to wrap our minds around, that’s where we’re going to be for the fall of 2020.”

The big problem facing the UF-FSU game is the scheduling. The SEC has moved the season start date to Sept. 26 and is already scheduled to play six SEC East teams and two from the SEC West.

“Once you do that, you have 11 Saturdays left to play 10 conference games. We ran out of Saturdays,” Stricklin said. “And so from the decision to delay was based on safety and health of, you know, our campuses, based on the guidance we’re all getting from health officials. And you know it’s just a function of where we ended up because of the way the schedule worked out.”

A full schedule is set to be released in the upcoming weeks, however, Florida’s Nov. 28 date with FSU looks to be canceled for the first time in 62 years.

Florida schedules home and home with NC State
Florida schedules home and home with NC State(WCJB)

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