While the prospect of a 2020 college football season seems to be more and more in doubt with each passing day, the Florida Gators are still planning for a future in which the sport exists. That’s comforting.
Adding another Power Five non-conference foe to future schedules is the Gators’ latest indication that they believe that the world will keep on spinning despite the miasma currently blanketing it, and they did so on Thursday by announcing a home-and-home series with ACC foe NC State that will take place in 2026 and 2032.
Unusual among Florida’s home-and-home series with Power Five opponents — which now total seven distinct series that will take place from 2022 and 2032 — is this two-fer’s starting point: Florida will travel to Raleigh in 2026, then host the Wolfpack in Gainesville in 2032. Of the six other series Florida currently has scheduled, just one — a pair of matchups with Arizona State in 2028 and 2031 — has Florida making its road trip first, with every other such series featuring Florida hosting the first game of two and traveling the next year.
Of course, the other feature this series shares with the Arizona State one is that it was announced after Florida had already added Power Five non-conference foes to each slate from 2022 onward through 2032.
And the trip to Raleigh in 2026 all but ensures that Florida’s regular season in 2026 will feature 11 games against Power Five foes for the first time in program history, with a home game against Cal and the roadie against the Wolfpack joining a presumed continuation of the annual Florida-Florida State rivalry (in Tallahassee) and eight SEC games.
Barring dramatic changes to SEC scheduling, Florida is now set to play six regular-season games away from home in 2026 — something it has done to wildly different results in recent history. The Gators last did so in 2019, with neutral-site games against Miami and Georgia joining four SEC contests, and previously did so in 2016 — when the fallout from Hurricane Matthew led to the Gators’ SEC East-clinching win over LSU coming in Baton Rouge rather than in Gainesville, and produced an SEC schedule for the Gators with just three home games — and in 2013, when a visit to Miami, a Jacksonville meeting with Georgia, and four SEC road games led the Gators away from Gainesville on six occasions.
Florida and NC State have met 14 times, with the Gators compiling a 9-4-1 record in those games. Their last meeting came in the 1993 Gator Bowl, a 27-10 Florida victory notable for being Steve Spurrier’s first bowl win with the Gators.
Florida last visited NC State in 1975, taking an 8-7 loss that was the Gators’ only defeat in their first eight games, and last hosted the Wolfpack in 1970, in a game that produced a 14-6 Florida triumph.