The Florida State Seminoles and the Ole Miss Rebels will meet in the 2016 Orlando Kickoff Game, Florida Citrus Sports officially announced today.
The FSU-Ole Miss matchup, which was initially reported by ESPN last week, will take place on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016 (Labor Day) and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
“We’re excited to bring regular season neutral-site college football games back to the Citrus Bowl and establish Orlando as a major kickoff destination for the future,” said Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan. “Florida State and Ole Miss will undoubtedly be a game worthy of national attention and we can’t wait to welcome fans from Tallahassee and Oxford to Central Florida to start the 2016 season.”
The game will be played at the newly renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, which made it’s debut this morning. The stadium now has a capacity of 61,348 and is expandable to 65,194.
Florida State has played a neutral-site game in Orlando six times previously. The Seminoles beat Memphis State (1990), Notre Dame (1994), Duke (1995) and Wake Forest (1996) and tied Stetson (1952) in Orlando.
“We are pleased to be able to play again in the Orlando Citrus Bowl and look forward to seeing the changes in the venue,” said FSU Athletic Director Stan Wilcox. “We have a large base of fans and alumni in Central and South Florida who travel to all our home games, and we have been looking to play some games that might require less travel for our fans around the state. The new College Football Playoff has placed a renewed focus on quality non-conference games. I know it will be a game that will excite both fan bases and one that will draw a great deal of national attention.”
Ole Miss has never played a regular or post-season football game in Orlando. It will be the first regular-season appearance in the city by a team from the SEC since September 28, 1991, when Florida defeated Mississippi State, 29-7.
“Kicking off 2016 with Monday night football is a big thrill for our program, and this is a great game on many levels,” said Ole Miss Director of Athletics Ross Bjork.” “Florida State is one of the traditional powerhouses of college football, and with the evolution of the college football playoff, matchups that provide a boost to our strength of schedule are a priority for us. Orlando is a destination city, and I know Rebel Nation will respond in a big way to provide a bowl game like atmosphere to kick off the season. We appreciate our partnerships with ESPN and Florida Citrus Sports to make this featured game a reality.”
Florida State and Ole Miss have only met once on the gridiron. The Rebels defeated the Seminoles in that game, 33-0 in Oxford in 1961.