Report: Michigan to play Florida in 2017 Cowboys Classic

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of Michigan's 2017 season will be against the Florida Gators in Arlington, TX.

Breaking news straight out of Ann Arbor, MI: the Wolverines are set to kick-off their 2017 football season against the Florida Gators in the Cowboys Classic, played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Need proof? Here's the press release via mgoblue.com:

DALLAS, Texas -- The University of Michigan and University of Florida football teams will square off in the 2017 Cowboys Classic on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be televised nationally in primetime.

"We are excited to make a return trip to Dallas for the Cowboys Classic against Florida," said U-M head coach Brady Hoke. "This is a great way to reach our fan base in the south and to continue to expand our recruiting efforts in the state of Texas. Our goal is to have as many Michigan fans at the game as possible.

"Florida has been one of college football's best programs over the past 20 years, and we are excited to face the Gators in a regular season football game for the first time ever," added Hoke.

Michigan will be the away team with Florida designated as the home team. The game officials and instant replay crew will come from the Big 12 Conference.

Ticket details for the 2017 Cowboys Classic will be announced a later date.

This will be the third all-time matchup between Michigan and Florida and the first regular-season contest played between the two programs. Both previous matchups with the Gators came in bowl games. U-M won both of those Jan. 1 bowl contests, claiming a 38-30 win in the 2003 Outback Bowl and a 41-35 victory in the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

The addition of Florida completes Michigan's 2017 football schedule.

Michigan also announced that the previously schedule 2016 football game against Ball State has been moved to the 2020 season. The Wolverines will host Hoke's alma mater on Sept. 12, 2020, at Michigan Stadium.

Also, via Michigan football's twitter:

Brian Cook on mgoblog weighs in:

I'd say this further proves that Dave Brandon charged his family for Thanksgiving dinner, but like playing a canned version of the Victors against the #1 basketball team in the country, money isn't actually a good explanation. These games are kind of inexplicable when OSU and MSU are locking down quality home and homes.

Brad Muckenthaler at maizenbluenation:

You may recall a certain bowl game in which a certain outgoing Michigan coach handed a certain Florida coach his one and only (to this day) bowl loss. Yeah. Me too.

This game has been widely rumored to be happening ever since the leaked Big Ten schedules found their way onto the internet a few months ago. So, now it's official. Michigan is headed back to Dallas (Arlington) in 2017 to redeem themselves from the Alabama shellacking from 2012.

Nick Baumgardner at MLive:

Michigan is headed back to Cowboys Stadium.

And this time, it'll be hoping for a better result.

The athletic department announced Thursday that Michigan will open its 2017 season against Southeastern Conference opponent Florida in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas.

The game will kick on Sept. 2 from AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium). It will be a prime time kick before a nationally televised audience. Time and network details have yet to be determined.

On the Florida Gators front, here's SB Nation Florida blog Alligator Army:

Rumors of a Florida-Michigan neutral site game to open the 2017 season first hit the Internet in October, when a leaked Big Ten schedule including future seasons listed Florida as a 2017 opponent for Michigan.

From Scott Carter at GatorZone.com:

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley receives calls regularly that pitch potential non-conference games for the Gators.

The latest offer was too good to pass up: Florida vs. Michigan at AT&T Stadium -- aka Jerry's World -- to open the 2017 season.

The 2017 Cowboys Classic is scheduled for Sept. 2, 2017, and will be broadcast nationally. When Foley was recently approached about the possible neutral-site game against the Wolverines, he was intrigued for several reasons.

"You don't get these opportunities very often,'' Foley said. "Our schedule has been pretty consistent through the years. We were presented this opportunity and just thought it was something that our fans would embrace, our program would embrace.

"It would give us great national visibility. Obviously, a very difficult ballgame against a storied program -- that excites us."

I wasn't too excited by the prospect of playing Alabama in 2012, and even less so when they were coming off a national championship and en route to another one that year. The rough patch that Florida is going through right now is temporary, so despite their recent struggles they will be ready to play the Wolverines in 4 years.

I'm probably more concerned about where Michigan will be. We will either have figured out answers to our problems or will we be in year two or three after another coaching change. Undoubtedly we as Michigan fans hope that it turns out to be the former, but this 7-5 season has proved to be more damaging than we could have ever thought possible.

I expect that both teams will be ready by the time they square off and regardless the game itself should be very good.

What are your thoughts?

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