Our top takeaways from Florida football’s 2021 schedule: Gators open SEC slate vs Bama

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
Quarterback Emory Jones and the Florida Gators open the 2021 season Sept. 4 against visiting Florida Atlantic.

After completing an all-SEC slate last season, Florida and the rest of the league hope to play a regular 12-game schedule in 2021. 

The SEC announced the schedules for all 14 schools Wednesday, followed by a statement from conference commissioner Greg Sankey.

“We are proud to have completed the 2020 football season under unique circumstances and will now focus on playing the 2021 football season as scheduled. Circumstances around the COVID-19 virus will continue to guide our decision-making should any adjustments need to be made,” Sankey said.

UF had two games postponed last season due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team. The Gators won the SEC East for the first time since 2016 and finished with an 8-4 record. 

Here are some takeaways from Florida’s 2021 schedule: 

Sunshine State start to season

The Gators will stay in Florida for the first four weeks of the season, as they host Florida Atlantic in The Swamp for their opener, followed by a trip to Tampa to face South Florida and two home games to start SEC play. UF’s first road game at Raymond James Stadium will be the second matchup in school history against USF, with the Bulls having visited The Swamp in 2010.

Gators open SEC slate vs. Bama

Florida begins conference play against reigning national champion Alabama. It’s a rematch of the 2020 SEC Championship Game, which was the highest scoring conference title game in league history (52-46). The Week 3 contest will be the first regular season meeting between the two storied programs in seven years and Alabama’s first trip to Gainesville since 2011. 

UF gets bye between LSU, UGA

Florida will play two of its toughest opponents, Georgia and LSU, in consecutive games. However, the Gators get a bye between the annual rivalries. UF travels to Baton Rouge on Oct. 16 and will look to avoid the program’s second three-game losing streak to the Tigers in the last decade. The winner of the Florida-Georgia game has won the East every year since 2015.

Florida resumes rivalry with FSU

The Gators will close out their regular season schedule against Florida State, resuming the in-state rivalry that was interrupted last year. COVID-19 caused Florida and FSU not to play for the first time since 1957. UF, winners of two straight against the Seminoles, will still host them this fall despite Florida State missing out on its home game in 2020.

2021 UF schedule

(Kickoff time and TV to be announced):

Sept. 4: Florida Atlantic, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 

Sept. 11: at USF, Tampa 

Sept. 18: Alabama, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Sept. 25: Tennessee, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Oct. 2: at Kentucky, Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.

Oct. 9: Vanderbilt, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Oct. 16: at LSU, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.

Oct. 23: Bye

Oct. 30: vs. Georgia Bulldogs, at TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

Nov. 6: at South Carolina, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.

Nov. 13: Samford, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Nov. 20: at Missouri, Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.

Nov. 27: Florida State, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium