New University of Miami head coach Manny Diaz was asked on the radio the morning after he was hired, “Have you thought about opening against Florida and your former boss, Dan Mullen?’’
Immediately responded Diaz: “243 days away.’’
Make that 227 days away on Wednesday, when the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 2019 composite football schedule.
This season, the Hurricanes (7-6 in 2018) get to face the hated Florida Gators (10-3 in 2018) and Florida State Seminoles (8-5) in the same season — the Gators on Aug. 31 in the previously announced Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium in Orlando; the Seminoles on Nov. 2 in Tallahassee. It’s the first time UM has played both the Gators and Noles in one season since 2013, when UM beat the Gators 21-16 and lost at FSU 41-14.
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Florida coach Dan Mullen was the head coach when Diaz was defensive coordinator in 2010 and 2015 at Mississippi State.
The Canes’ first ACC game comes fast. It’s the second game on Sept. 7 at North Carolina (2-9 in 2018).
Miami faces Bethune-Cookman (7-5 in the FCS) in its home opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 14.
The Canes then meet Central Michigan (1-11 in the Mid-American Conference), where new Canes offensive coordinator Dan Enos was the head coach from 2010 to 2014, at home on Sept. 21.
UM has an early open date on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Miami then hosts Coastal Division foe Virginia Tech (6-7) at home Saturday, Oct. 5.
Next on tap: a Friday, Oct. 11th home game against Virginia (8-5) — likely at night or late afternoon, although the kickoff times have not been released.
Miami’s five-game home stretch ends Oct. 19 against Georgia Tech (7-6), which has a new coach this year — former Temple coach Geoff Collins — and will present new challenges.
From there, it’s two road games: at Pittsburgh (note that UM is not facing Pitt, 7-7 in 2018, in the regular-season finale around Thanksgiving) on Oct. 26 and then the big one: at FSU on Nov. 2, when the Canes will go for three wins in a row against the Seminoles.
UM returns to Hard Rock Stadium to face Louisville (2-10) on Nov. 9, then has its second bye weekend on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Canes will play FIU (9-4) at Marlins Park on Nov. 23, designated an FIU home game. UM will face its former coach, Butch Davis, at the site where the old Orange Bowl once stood.
“I think it’ll be kind of down memory lane a little bit,’’ said Davis, whose Panthers lost to UM 31-17 this past season.
Marlins Park is expected to hold about 40,000 fans for the game, with 15,000 of the tickets allotted to Miami. The rest of the tickets will be sold by FIU, Panthers athletic director Pete Garcia said Wednesday. No individual game tickets will be sold.
UM ends the regular season in Durham, North Carolina on Nov. 30 at Duke, which finished 8-5 last season, including a 20-12 victory at Miami.
Only one game is against a team that finished this past season in the Associated Press Top 25 AP Poll: the opener against Florida.