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Florida football’s 2021 schedule released, highlighted by hosting Alabama

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The Gators get the Crimson Tide in Gainesville for the first time in a decade.

Alabama at Florida football
Yes, that’s Andre Debose.
Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Florida Gators will host Alabama on XXXXXX Y, 2021, in the marquee game of their 2021 football schedule, which was released on Wednesday by the SEC.

The league premiered the schedule, which is currently a based on a 12-game regular season that could come at the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic’s sweeping effects in the United States, via the SEC Network.

After playing a 10-game SEC-only slate in 2020, Florida is set to return to its customary schedule composition of four non-conference games and eight SEC matchups in 2021. And of those games, the unquestioned highlight will be Florida’s first regular-season meeting with Alabama since 2014. The rematch of the 2020 SEC Championship Game will be the first trip to Gainesville for the Crimson Tide in a full decade, as Alabama last made the trek in 2011.

It will also be one of the biggest games of the early portion of the year in college football, as it is set to be Florida’s SEC opener.

Florida getting that game — and a rare non-conference road trip, albeit one just down Interstate 75 to see USF — out of the way so early in the year makes for what seems on paper to be a lighter-than-usual October and a November made most difficult by road games breaking up what could have been a longer homestand.

After following its game with Alabama by hosting Tennessee, the Gators will face Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and LSU — the Wildcats and Tigers on the road — before their traditional pre-Georgia bye week in October, then close the month by seeing the Bulldogs in Jacksonville.

And in November, Florida will travel to South Carolina and Missouri, wrapping those games around a home meeting with FCS Samford and a second consecutive home game in their series with Florida State, which was interrupted by COVID-19 in 2020.

Florida has not played a road game the week before meeting Florida State since 2016, when Hurricane Matthew rescheduled the Gators’ October home game with LSU into a late-November trip to Baton Rouge, and has not played a road game the week before hosting Florida State since all the way back in 2001, when it visited South Carolina a week before the Seminoles came to Gainesville.

The full schedule in bullet-point form is as follows:

  • Saturday, September 4: Florida Atlantic
  • Saturday, September 11: at USF
  • Saturday, September 18: Alabama
  • Saturday, September 25: Tennessee
  • Saturday, October 2: at Kentucky
  • Saturday, October 9: Vanderbilt
  • Saturday, October 16: at LSU
  • Saturday, October 23: Bye
  • Saturday, October 30: Georgia (in Jacksonville)
  • Saturday, November 6: at South Carolina
  • Saturday, November 13: Samford
  • Saturday, November 20: at Missouri
  • Saturday, November 27: Florida State
  • Saturday, December 4: SEC Championship Game (in Atlanta)