Muschamp open to playing Miami

When Florida made the trip to Coral Gables during the second week of the 2013 season, it was billed as the last game between the two for the forseeable future. Less than a year later, that looks like it could be changing.

Miami athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald recently that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley would be interested in continuing the series, as long as the matchups came at a neutral site. Among multiple locations across the state of Florida, James was asked about the possibility of playing in Orlando.

However, the Miami athletic director noted the heavy Florida fanbase in Orlando and said it was "not really neutral but it's an easy distance to (Miami's) campus."

There's still a long way to go before anything between the two teams is finalized, but it sounds like the Florida-Miami series has become something the Florida side is now interested in playing.

"I think that'd be really good for us and really good for the state of Florida," Florida coach Will Muschamp said before speaking to the Titletown Gator Club in Gainesville. "That's something Jeremy (Foley) and I have talked about."

In recent years, Florida administration has been on hold from scheduling like it normally would. The Gators will open the 2017 season against Michigan in Dallas, but they have slowed most of the non-conference scheduling that can wait. The purpose was to see what the conference was going to do.

The Southeastern Conference was deciding between an eight-game or nine-game schedule with multiple coaches and athletic directors pushing in different directions. The league announced in late April that it would stick to an eight-game format, playing six games against a team's division, one game against a permanent opponent from the other division and one rotating game against an opponent from the other division.

"We've been in such a holding pattern scheduling wise for several years because of the unknowns of what our league was going to do, and whether it was going to be an eight-game or a nine-game schedule," Muschamp said.

Now with concrete answers, there's a chance for Muschamp and Florida administration to explore the possibility of the Miami series. Agreeing to play the game against Michigan in 2017 shows they're open to an extra marquee out of conference matchup in addition to Florida State.

Playing the Hurricanes at a neutral site in Florida could be the next move.

"I'm open to it because I think it's a good game," Muschamp said. "It's a good leadoff game and that's what it was for a long time. That's what I grew up with in the 70s and early 80s, the Florida-Miami game leading the season off. I think that'd be good."

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