Source: Florida Receiving $6M For Cowboys Classic Matchup Against Michigan
Florida will open the '17 college football season playing Michigan in the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium, and UF will "receive $6 million to play in the game," according to a source cited by Pat Dooley of the GAINESVILLE SUN. Expenses for a road game "usually are less than $200,000," and UF "usually nets" about $1M for a home game. The game will be UF's first "venture outside the state for a non-conference game" since losing at Syracuse in '91. UF AD Jeremy Foley said that the move "was not in response to the new playoff system, where strength of schedule will be a component for the committee that will decide the four playoff teams." He instead claimed that the opportunity "was one that could not be passed up." Dooley noted UF will "continue to pursue the possibility of playing a neutral site game against Miami (likely in Tampa) five to seven years after the 2017 game" (GAINESVILLE.com, 12/19). The FLORIDA TIMES-UNION reports UF has "struggled to fill stands for some home games the last few years, especially in games against nonconference opponents aside from Florida State." So moving a home date to a neutral-site venue -- and "guaranteeing a sellout and a significant payout -- made sense financially" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/20). Both UF and Michigan each get 25,000 tickets for the game. The schools have "met twice in bowl games," but never in the regular season (FLORIDA TODAY, 12/20).