The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: FSU and Florida Should Play Hoops on the Friday Before the Football Game

FSU athletics

It didn’t happen frequently enough for it to become a tradition, but there have been occasions before where the annual men’s hoops contest between Florida and Florida State took place the evening before the annual football rivalry…

We should make that a thing.

It hasn’t been the case in Tallahassee since 1990, but in scheduled contests in Gainesville in 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2013, the annual basketball contest took place the night before the football game. It served as a nice appetizer for the more heralded football game.

Over the last two seasons, the teams have actually met on the hardwood weeks before the annual football contest, which now falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Although the basketball game will almost always play second fiddle to the contest on the gridiron, it would probably lead to better exposure for both programs.

The last two match-ups haven’t been all that schedule-friendly. This season, the teams met at 1 p.m. EST on a Sunday in Gainesville, forcing the contest to compete with the NFL for viewership. Last season, the teams opened with each other in Tallahassee — the capital of the state of Florida — on Nov. 6, which happened to be the night of the 2018 midterm elections and governor’s race.

Making the meetings in the two biggest revenue sports happen on the same weekend would probably be good for both cities and businesses. Although it happens a decent amount already, more people would stay in the cities on Friday night rather than driving on Saturday. That’s extra shopping and extra eating in those cities.

The schools could probably even take things a step further and play both the men’s and women’s basketball games on Friday night about three hours apart. The programs took that approach in 2007 as the women played before the men that year. That would be putting the two schools’ biggest rivals against one another in the two biggest revenue sports and the most popular women’s sport over just a 2-day stretch.

The possibilities from there are endless. A trophy could be made for the athletic department that takes two of three or sweeps the contests as part of a new named weekend challenge. It also opens up new possibilities for local and national performers and merchandisers.

There are sure to be challenges associated with the event. It’s not uncommon for men’s basketball programs to play holiday tournaments that time of year, so that would be something to work out. There may be years where it’s not possible to play on the Friday before the football game, but for the most part, the pros seem to outweigh the cons.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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