The 2016 Florida Gators schedule is complete and released, thanks to the SEC's Thursday night release of its entire 2016 schedule.
The most important takeaways: Florida will host Kentucky in Week 2, on September 10; will play at Arkansas on November 5, in a rare late-season excursion to an SEC West team for the Gators; and will meet Presbyterian on November 19, in their third non-conference game of the season.
We didn't previously know the identity of the Gators' third non-conference opponent; games against UMass and North Texas had already been announced, but Florida had never announced a deal to play the Blue Hose. Florida has only met Presbyterian once before, in 1945 and the 2016 game between the two teams will come 61 years and two days after that 41-0 Gators triumph.
The only new news apart from the reveal of Presbyterian in this release is the order of games. The SEC's rotation of non-permanent cross-divison opponents through 2025 was announced May 2014, so we've known Florida would be making its first trip to Arkansas since 2008 for more than a year.
But with the schedule officially released, we do get to note some oddities about it.
First and foremost: Florida playing Kentucky in Week 2 is just the Gators' second scheduled SEC opener for the second week of a season since 1995.
Florida played Texas A&M in its 2012 SEC opener in Week 2, but that was a result of significant shifting of schedules to accomodate the entry of the Aggies and Missouri into the SEC. The Gators also played SEC teams in their second games in 2004 and 2014, but those games (against Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively) were Week 3 games; the Gators' scheduled season openers in those years were postponed and cancelled, respectively, by weather.
Beyond that early-season game against Kentucky, the oddest thing about this Florida schedule is likely the back-to-back games in Tennessee against the Volunteers and Commodores. The Gators played those two teams in consecutive weeks just once before: In November 1955, Florida lost to Tennessee at home before falling to Vanderbilt on the road. Florida has never played both teams in consecutive road games, and has only met Vanderbilt before November once before in the SEC's divisional era, defeating the Commodores in Nashville in October 2012.
Florida's trip to Arkansas will also be a rarity: With the Gators typically meeting South Carolina, Vanderbilt, a non-conference home opponent, and Florida State in November since the SEC's admittance of South Carolina and Arkansas and adoption of East and West divisions, SEC West teams have popped up earlier in Florida's schedule.
This 2016 trip to Fayetteville is Florida's first to a current SEC West team in November since 1991, when Florida beat Auburn by a 31-10 score on the plains. And because that game happened before the 1992 adoption of divisions, Florida will be making the trek to see an SEC West team in November for the first time ever.
Here's the full 2016 Florida Gators football schedule:
2016 Florida Gators Schedule
|September 3, 2016||UMass||Gainesville, FL|
|September 10, 2016||Kentucky||Gainesville, FL|
|September 17, 2016||North Texas||Gainesville, FL|
|September 24, 2016||Tennessee||Knoxville, TN|
|October 1, 2016||Vanderbilt||Nashville, TN|
|October 8, 2016||LSU||Gainesville, FL|
|October 15, 2016||Missouri||Gainesville, FL|
|October 22, 2016||Bye||N/A|
|October 29, 2016||Georgia||Jacksonville, FL|
|November 5, 2016||Arkansas||Fayetteville, AR|
|November 12, 2016||South Carolina||Gainesville, FL|
|November 19, 2016||Presbyterian||Gainesville, FL|
|November 26, 2016||Florida State||Tallahassee, FL|