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Florida, Miami to kick off season on Aug. 24

The opening of the college football season just got an added boost when it was announced Thursday that Florida and Miami will meet on Aug. 24 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

A request to move up the marquee matchup a week from Aug. 31 has been approved by the NCAA.

The neutral-site game, with a 7 p.m. ET kickoff, will be televised by ESPN.

“Moving the Camping World Kickoff to Aug. 24 is a unique and rare opportunity that showcases college football, both storied programs, and the state of Florida,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said.

The decision was made after the idea was initially pitched by the College Football 150th Anniversary Organization and ESPN. Talks about the game being part of a celebration to open the 150th anniversary season of college football also involved both schools and Florida Citrus Sports.

A waiver from the NCAA to move the date of the game was required.

“We understand that the new game date could affect Hurricanes fans who had already made travel plans for the original game date,” Miami athletic director Blake James said in a statement. “We will work diligently with any of those affected to help ensure that they can still attend the Camping World Kickoff and have a great experience.”

Miami’s Manny Diaz will make his debut as head coach, while Florida’s Dan Mullen enters his second season with the Gators. The two schools haven’t met since 2013.

“We are excited to kick off the celebration of 150 years of college football on August 24 in Orlando,” Mullen said in a statement. “It will be a great showcase for the university, our program and all of Gator Nation.”

Also playing that day are Samford and Youngstown State in the 2019 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff in Montgomery, Ala., and FBS schools Arizona and Hawaii in Honolulu.