Former University of Florida defensive back Quincy Wilson never saw a duck pull a truck. For this generation of Gator fans, it’s likely that they’ve never seen a gator take on a bull, either.
All that is set to change. Early Tuesday, UF announced that it had reached an agreement with the University of South Florida to schedule three games in the coming years.
The teams will first play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the 2022 season. They’ll then square off at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium in 2023 before heading back to the Swamp for the 2025 campaign.
“This is a unique scheduling opportunity that allows us to get three games against a quality FBS opponent,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a release. “A lot of Gator fans will have the opportunity to attend that game and we are looking forward to being able to play a regular-season game in central Florida.”
If familiarity breeds contempt, the Gators and Bulls are likely on decent terms.
The two squads haven’t faced each other since the 2010 season, when — with Urban Meyer still at the helm — Florida trounced USF 38-14. That last meeting also marked the first and only time the programs went head-to-head on the gridiron in their respective histories.
Time hasn’t been kind to either team since. In the years following that game in 2010, the Bulls have compiled an aggregate record of 50-47, including a three-season stretch that saw them go 9-27. The Gators haven’t fared much better: They’ve gone 58-41 in the same stretch of time.
For UF, the three-game slate also serves as a chance to boost its recruiting in the area.
The state of Florida has emerged as a hotbed of talent in recent years. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Mills, Floridian players compose 20 percent of this recruiting cycle’s ESPN 300. The Gators, however, have fallen off: Per 247sports, UF hasn’t scored a top-ten recruiting class since 2014.
With the Miami Hurricanes’ resurgence and Florida State’s run among college football’s elite, games against in-state opposition matter more than ever.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to host South Florida twice in The Swamp and also play them in Raymond James Stadium,” Florida head coach Dan Mullen said in a release. “The Tampa/St. Petersburg area is an important recruiting footprint for us.”