Florida Gators, meet the USF Bulls.
UF announced Tuesday that the Gators and Bulls have agreed to play three games against each other in the near future. They will play in Gainesville during the 2022 and 2025 seasons and at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa during the 2023 season.
"This is a unique scheduling opportunity that allows us to get three games against a quality FBS opponent, with two at home and one in a great venue in Tampa," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a press release. "A lot of Gator fans will have the opportunity to attend that game and we are looking forward to being able to play a regular-season game in central Florida."
It's the first scheduling news to surface under new coach Dan Mullen, who has stressed the importance of playing against in-state teams when possible. The Gators already play Florida State annually. Florida will open the 2019 season against Miami at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"I am a big fan of scheduling games that players' families can get to," Mullen said recently during a speaking tour stop in Miami. "You're not going to see me jumping up and down to schedule a game on the West Coast or way up north. ... We recruit nationally. We have a lot of kids from around the country, but the majority of our team is from Florida."
Florida has played USF just once before in football, winning 38-14 in the 2010 season.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, USF will earn $750,000 for its two visits to Gainesville. Meanwhile, USF will pay UF $250,000 for the game in Tampa.
USF went 10-2 last season in its first year under coach Charlie Strong — who served as the Gators' defensive coordinator from 2003-2009. The Bulls' only losses last year were a 28-24 defeat to Houston and 49-42 loss to undefeated UCF.
"I would like to thank Coach Strong for his desire to play a challenging non-conference schedule and the leadership at Florida for their partnership in making this happen," Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement released by USF. "We are committed to scheduling opponents that our fans are excited to see the Bulls compete against and Florida certainly ranks very high on that list."