Florida vs. Michigan: Gators announce 2017 Cowboys Classic in AT&T Stadium

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

You want a big non-conference game? Florida's 2017 schedule is delivering a huge one.

Florida and Michigan will meet in the 2017 Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium, Florida announced on Thursday.

The GatorZone writeup is Scott Carter's, and is a nice window into Florida's decision-making process — or, more importantly, Jeremy Foley's.

The 2017 Cowboys Classic is scheduled for Sept. 2, 2017, and will be broadcast nationally. When Foley was recently approached about the possible neutral-site game against the Wolverines, he was intrigued for several reasons.

"You don't get these opportunities very often," Foley said. "Our schedule has been pretty consistent through the years. We were presented this opportunity and just thought it was something that our fans would embrace, our program would embrace.

"It would give us great national visibility. Obviously, a very difficult ballgame against a storied program -- that excites us."

...

"This is a great opportunity to expose the University of Florida nationally, playing one of the greatest programs in the history of college football, I think a tremendous trip for our fans," Foley said. "We just haven't done much of this, certainly as long as I've been athletic director. I think there are a lot of positives that come out of it."

Rumors of a Florida-Michigan neutral site game to open the 2017 season first hit the Internet in October, when a leaked Big Ten schedule including future seasons listed Florida as a 2017 opponent for Michigan.

Florida last played Michigan in the 2008 Capital One Bowl, which the Wolverines won, 41-35. The Gators last played a non-conference game outside the state of Florida in 1991, when the Gators lost to Syracuse, 38-21, at the Carrier Dome — and Carter's article inadvertently confirms that there will be no other non-conference games outside Florida between now and 2017, with this phrase, emphasis ours:

The matchup against Michigan will be the Gators' first nonconference game away from the Sunshine State since a loss at Syracuse in 1991.

Ticket information will be announced at a later date, but the game's three years away, so take "later date" to mean whatever you want it to mean. And Florida might have an offensive coordinator by then!

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