When Billy Napier arrived in Gainesville, he made one of the changes for Florida football: moving its Orange and Blue Game to a Thursday. The move was unique and had a rationale behind it, but after two seasons of playing on a weeknight, the Gators will return to a traditional Saturday date.
Having now experienced Florida's annual scrimmage on a Thursday, what are the pros and cons to moving the game back to Saturday?
Florida Football: The Boys Of Spring
Pros For Playing On Saturday
The biggest complaint from fans playing on a Thursday was that it was difficult for fans outside of Gainesville to make the trek. Depending on the data one wants to cherry-pick, there is some truth to this.
Based on reports from the last couple of seasons, about 40,000 people showed up each of the past two seasons, a number that matched what the Gators had in 2019 when it was played on a Saturday.
But Florida also had 53,000 show up in 2018, a number we don't envision Florida hitting with the game being on a Thursday.
There is also the ability to turn the Spring Game into a weekend of festivities by having it on a Saturday. Of note, Florida baseball is hosting South Carolina that weekend in a rematch of Super Regionals. Fans can bookend their weekend by catching the Friday or Sunday game or can head straight from the Spring Game to the Saturday game at 4 PM.
And in a world where everything we know and love about college football is moving away from tradition, there is something nice about having football on a Saturday in its traditional home.
Cons For Playing On Saturday
One of the nice things about playing under the lights vs playing at 1 PM was that fans in attendance wouldn't have to worry too much about it being too hot. The last three years, April 13 in Gainesville has seen a high temperature of 80, 80 and 78. Certainly manageable compared to the 90+ September games Gator fans slog through, but still not as nice as the weather can be at night.
And for those not in attendance at the game, having the game on Thursday night made it easier viewing compared to a Saturday. This may seem counter intuitive compared to the regular season (looking at you Utah), but blocking out three hours on a Saturday for a scrimmage is a bit harder to justify compared to having it on when everyone is already home.