Kickoff set for first two games


Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 2:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 2:57 p.m.

For the second consecutive season, the Florida football team is going to be getting off to a hot, early start in The Swamp.

As anticipated, UF learned Tuesday that its Aug. 30 opener against Hawaii has been picked up by Raycom and will have a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. Last year's opener against Western Kentucky also was tabbed by the network and had a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.

At the SEC's spring meetings in Destin last week, word leaked out that Raycom was going to televise the Hawaii game. The news became official with the league's release Tuesday of its television schedule.

The Gators also learned that the Sept. 6 Miami game at Florida Field has been picked up by ESPN and will have an 8 p.m. kickoff.

Beyond the first two games, the league TV partners have a 12-day window to select the remaining games on the schedule, with a one-time exception for a six-day window.

As for the early kickoff on Aug. 30, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said last week that UF would have a plan to cope with heat, similar to the one the school had for last year's 12:30 p.m. opener.

"We'll announce those plans as we get closer to the game," Foley said. "We're very sensitive to the heat. We'll do some of the things we did last year, with the water, ice and cooling zones. Last year we had a very good experience and I'm confident we'll have one again."

Among the initiatives employed during last season's opener:

* Cool misting tents in the concourses of the north, south and west sides of the stadium

* Additional fans on east side concourse

* Plastic cups with ice for free at concessions stands

* 12-ounce waters on sale at concessions stands for $1

* More than 100 water fountains operational in stadium

* Cooling buses on the east and west side to supplement aid stations

* Officers at gates looking out for fans in heat distress and directing to aid stations

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