KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
GAME DATE: 9/2/2017
SITE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
SERIES: Michigan leads 3-0. The Wolverines won the last meeting 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016.
RANKINGS: Michigan No. 11, Florida No. 17
KEYS TO THE GAME
If the game on the field is as entertaining as the mind games the two coaches are playing, fans watching Florida and Michigan are in for a treat.
The teams meet Saturday in the Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium with ABC doing the broadcast honors.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh refused to release his team's roster until Wednesday, declined to formally announce his quarterback, and then went overboard by insinuating No. 17 Gators coach Jim McElwain was the one playing games by not revealing his team's signal caller.
Michigan's Mason Cole hears all the chatter and just shrugs.
"We don't think anything of it," the senior said at a press conference. "We just go out and play. We don't really worry about the rosters."
All the secrets will be unearthed during Saturday's game, but this much is known: The Wolverines lost a lot of stars off last season's 10-3 squad while 10 Florida players will be serving suspensions.
Michigan had a school-record 11 players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, meaning there are new faces in new roles all over the field.
The Gators, who went 9-4 last season, have won 27 consecutive season openers -- the best streak in the nation -- but have questions of their own.
McElwain released a depth chart Tuesday but it didn't provide an answer when it comes to the starting quarterback.
Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, junior Luke Del Rio and Malik Zaire -- a graduate transfer from Notre Dame -- are all still candidates to open the game.
"The quarterback situation, we have a plan that's in place," McElwain told reporters. "I'm not going to tell you what it is, so there's no reason to ask, but we're excited about that. We'll leave that for them to guess, as well."
Meanwhile, junior Wilton Speight appears to once again be Michigan's quarterback after waging a tight battle with senior John O'Korn in fall camp. But Harbaugh isn't interested in revealing anything related to personnel.
"I have not heard Florida announce who their starting quarterback is going to be," Harbaugh said. "We'd love to have that information, and so, no, we're not announcing our starting quarterback."
The one undisputed fact about the matchup is that standout junior receiver Antonio Callaway (54 receptions for 721 yards last season) and junior running back Jordan Scarlett (889 yards) are among the Gators who will be serving suspensions on Saturday. The suspensions for Scarlett and redshirt freshman receiver Rick Wells were announced Wednesday.
Sophomore Lamical Perine, who rushed for 421 yards last season, will move into the featured running back role.
Florida figures to once again be stingy on defense. The Gators allowed an average of 16.8 points last season and junior Jared Zuniga (team-best five sacks) is back to deliver more damage.
Michigan's defense was ravaged by departures, creating more opportunity for ballyhooed defensive end Rashan Gary to live up to the hype. The sophomore is a second-team preseason All-American despite being a reserve last season, when he had 27 tackles, including five for loss.
Senior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (4.5 sacks last season) goes from stellar backup to the leader of the line, while senior weak-side linebacker Mike McCray looks to follow up a campaign in which he registered 12.5 tackles for losses.
There are lots of new starters on the offensive side as well -- sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards) figures to be the starting running back -- but Harbaugh maintains he isn't concerned.
The coach, beginning his third season with the Wolverines, feels the transition has been smooth and he sees the chemistry developing.
"I like the way our team has worked," Harbaugh said.
"I've liked the way they've competed without complaint. That's been especially good. I like the way the team's hung together. I like the communication where we are with our football team on the field, communicating calls, and I like their understanding of what we're doing schematically. I like the way they worked."
Florida dealt with some offensive struggles last season after Del Rio (1,358 yards, eight touchdowns, eight interceptions) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Del Rio underwent surgeries on both shoulders in the offseason and missed spring drills.
Though the Gators aren't tipping their hand per their starter, there has been a level of optimism due to how well the three candidates have practiced in August.
"Once we get rolling, I think our offense will be great. Once we get it rolling, I think nobody will be able to stop us," sophomore wide receiver Josh Hammond told reporters. "If we get it going early against a great team, it'll definitely boost a lot of confidence for us moving forward."
Callaway, Scarlett and Wells are among nine Florida players who are serving indefinite suspensions for misusing university funds. The others are defensive linemen Keivonnis Davis (a junior), Richerd Desir-Jones (sophomore) and Jordan Smith (redshirt freshman), freshman linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller and freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort.
In addition, freshman receiver James Robinson was suspended after being cited with misdemeanor marijuana possession.