University of Florida Gators – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Gregory Reed
The Florida Gators and UCF have finalized an agreement for a three-game football series set for the 2024, 2030, and 2033 seasons. This will be the first meeting between the two instate programs since 2006.
“As I’ve said since arriving, we were in desperate need for games on our upcoming schedule,” said UCF athletics director Terry Mohajir. “For the 2024 season specifically, we had three options. Play just 11 games instead of 12, play two FCS opponents, or play at Florida. We obviously made the best choice for our program and recruiting.
“Once we were able to secure this game in 2024, we then proceeded to add the home-and-home series at their earliest availability. I appreciate (Florida AD) Scott (Stricklin) for returning my call and helping us fill one of our two holes on the 2024 football schedule.”
“Glad it could happen and look forward to the series,” Stricklin said.
UCF begins the series by traveling to Gainesville for a meet on Oct. 5, 2024. Florida will return the favor with its first-ever trip to UCF on Sept. 14, 2030, with the Knights following up with another trip up north for a Sept. 3, 2033 meeting.
The two in-state foes’ first meet was back in 1999, with Florida earning a 58-27 win. The two then met again in 2006, with UCF blanking out at 42-0. Both of these games were played in Gainesville.
A series seemed highly unlikely a few years back due to then-UCF AD Danny White’s refusal to schedule the 2-for-1 series against Power 5 programs, citing financial and competitive reasons. White was concerned about losing a financial windfall that an additional home game would generate.
However, when Mohajir arrived at UCF back in February, he caught a glimpse of how desperate the program was to schedule opponents. The UCF Knights had only 12 open dates over the next five seasons.
Florida is scheduled to play both UCF and Miami in 2024, UCF and Texas in 2030, and UCF in 2033.
“We were at the point where we would have played a one-off guarantee game at Florida, but we were fortunate that we were able to add a home-and-home series as well, starting here at the Bounce House,” added Mohajir. “It’s a bonus that it happens to be an in-state football team that will create a tremendous amount of excitement for both fan bases.
“Finally, and most importantly, our players and coaches asked me multiple times about the potential of playing Florida. These guys are fired up to play quality competition. As I’ve said several times that we are going to do what is best for our program and what makes sense for us. Right now, this makes the most sense under the current scheduling environment and circumstances.”
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Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.