The Miami Hurricanes’ ugly season hit its lowest point of 2018 on Thursday with a 35-3 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Miami’s next chance to turn things around won’t come for another nine months — and against the hated Florida Gators of all teams.
The Hurricanes will open the 2019 season at Camping World Stadium in Orlando against in-state rival Florida on Aug. 31, meeting the Gators for the first time since a win in 2013. While Miami has won seven of the last eight games in the rivalry contest dating to 1986, Florida will almost certainly be the favorite in the Camping World Kickoff.
The Hurricanes lead the all-time series 29-26.
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Miami (7-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) just wrapped up the worst season of coach Mark Richt’s three-year tenure. The No. 10 Gators (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern) will finish coach Dan Mullen’s first year with the program in the Peach Bowl at noon on Saturday against the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines.
The last time the two played, the unranked Hurricanes upset No. 12 Florida, 21-16, in Miami Gardens behind two touchdown passes by former quarterback Stephen Morris. The win vaulted the Hurricanes into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2010 at No. 16.
Miami could look quite a bit different by then. Quarterbacks N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams will likely spend the preseason competing for the starting job — assuming both are still with the program. The Hurricanes will have to, at the very least, replace star defensive tackle Gerald Willis, and standout defensive backs Michael Jackson, Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. Miami’s offense could take on a different look, too, if some of the seldom-used underclassman break out in the offseason.
The Gators will lose some key contributors, too — offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor, defensive lineman Jachai Polite and linebacker Vosean Joseph could all leave early, and star defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has already declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Starting quarterback Feleipe Franks, however, will return for his redshirt junior year, but freshman quarterback Emory Jones will push him for the starting job.