Florida will hold its spring football game at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 8, the school announced Friday, breaking from the tradition of Saturday afternoon spring games in hopes of finding a unique situation. Admission will also be free.
The move of what Florida calls the Orange and Blue Debut to Friday night, previously reported as a possibility by Mark Long of the Associated Press and Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun should help the Gators have the stage all to themselves on that night in college football, or nearly so.
The vast majority of college football teams play their spring games on Saturdays, allowing fans to come to and tailgate before games as they would on Saturdays in the fall. By moving the spring game to a Friday night, Florida will likely be sacrificing attendance — a minor concern for a program that hadn't been selling spring game tickets for more than $5 in the recent past — for attention and novelty, in an attempt to rekindle enthusiasm for a program that started 6-0 in 2015 before an NCAA suspension for Will Grier that precipitated a 4-4 finish.
Florida's also moving its spring game from the weekend of the Florida Relays, the Gators' venerable home track meet, which typically serves as one of the biggest home weeks of the spring for Gators teams. This year, Florida's baseball, softball, lacrosse, and men's and women's tennis teams will all be in action in Gainesville from March 31 to April 2, in addition to the track teams' participation in the Florida Relays.
But from April 8 to 10, the only Florida team scheduled to homestand was the Gators' preseason No. 1 baseball team — which will begin its Friday night series opener against Mississippi State at 5:30 p.m. to help accomodate the Orange and Blue Debut.