The SEC has released 2019 schedules for its football programs this Tuesday — and Florida’s 2019 slate, despite having all its opponents previously known, is a doozy.
The Gators begin the year with a neutral-site showdown with Miami in Orlando in the Camping World Kickoff on August 31, then spend September split between hosting cupcakes in Gainesville — Tennessee-Martin visits on September 7, and Towson on September 21 — and facing off with traditional early-season foes Kentucky in Lexington (September 14) and Tennessee in Gainesville (September 28).
Then October comes, and Florida’s schedule turns into something more like a meat grinder.
SEC West power — and longtime Florida rival — Auburn visits The Swamp on October 5, marking the first time since the 2007 Tigers (and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp) handed Florida its first home loss in nearly three years and Tim Tebow his first loss as a starter that Auburn will play Florida in Gainesville. A week later, on October 12, Florida will play at LSU for the first time since 2016 — and for the first regularly-scheduled game in the Florida-LSU series to take place in Baton Rouge since 2015, after the massive disruptions to the series schedule caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 — to see a second SEC West foe in as many weeks.
Then Florida plays a second road game in two weeks, trekking to South Carolina on October 19, before its traditional pre-Georgia bye week. Florida’s first November game takes place on November 2 in Jacksonville against those Bulldogs, though, meaning that Florida plays Auburn, LSU, and Georgia in the span of five weeks in 2019 — and just one of those games at home — and has a five-game stretch from the final week of September to the first weekend of November featuring four long-time rivals and a team coached by a former Florida head coach.
The post-Georgia segment of Florida’s November schedule is slightly less menacing for the Gators — Vanderbilt on November 9 in what looks like a likely Homecoming game, then at Missouri on November 16, then a bye before a November 30 date with Florida State — but only relatively so. Florida will be making only its second trip to Missouri in November for that game, and this one will happen almost two weeks later on the calendar than a November 2, 2017 visit that ended with the Tigers blowing out the Gators, 45-16.
None of the opponents on Florida’s 2019 schedule are a surprise, as contracts with non-conference teams are done well in advance and the SEC’s rotation of opponents is set through several more years. (We actually know Florida’s non-conference opponents in 2020, and know of two non-conference opponents as far ahead as 2025, thanks partly to the reliability of Florida’s series with Florida State.) But the dates of the SEC games on the schedule are up to the SEC itself to determine, which it does on a yearly basis — and so, when Florida gets Auburn and LSU over back-to-back weeks, that’s the league’s doing.
Florida’s 2019 schedule also features as many games away from The Swamp for the Gators as they will have in it, with six home games balanced against four road games and two neutral-site contests. Both of the neutral-site contests are games in Florida, of course, but the Gators’ long-ridiculed scheduling patterns have shifted in recent years, and 2019’s slate is further evidence of that.
Here’s the full Florida football schedule for 2019 in table form — including the SEC Championship Game, because Florida’s clearly making that.
2019 Florida Football Schedule
|August 31, 2019||Miami||Orlando, FL|
|September 7, 2019||UT Martin||Gainesville, FL|
|September 14, 2019||Kentucky||Lexington, KY|
|September 21, 2019||Towson||Gainesville, FL|
|September 28, 2019||Tennessee||Gainesville, FL|
|October 5, 2019||Auburn||Gainesville, FL|
|October 12, 2019||LSU||Baton Rouge, LA|
|October 19, 2019||South Carolina||Columbia, SC|
|October 26, 2019||Bye|
|November 2, 2019||Georgia||Jacksonville, FL|
|November 9, 2019||Vanderbilt||Gainesville, FL|
|November 16, 2019||Missouri||Columbia, MO|
|November 23, 2019||Bye|
|November 30, 2019||Florida State||Gainesville, FL|
|December 7, 2019||SEC Championship Game||Atlanta, GA|