SEC commissioner Mike Slive was at the Florida-Texas A&M game for the start and planned to head to the airport before halftime to make the trek to Missouri for the Tigers' contest with Georgia to see both historic firsts for the league.
It was the first game in the SEC for the two new entries. Slive also attended the yell practice, an A&M tradition, on Friday night that was attended by 40,000 fans.
"Everything that we thought was A&M has proven out to be A&M,'' Slive said.
The game was the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people.
"Fourteen months ago I got a call, 'We'd like to talk to you,' from President (R. Bowen) Loftin, and we came here for the celebration in the fall, and finally July 1 came and they were officially in the league, and last night was yell practice and I realized as I walked out of the stadium that finally today is here, finally we are going to play a football game,'' Slive said. "I was not only impressed by the size of the student body that was there (Friday night) but also how they conducted themselves. They came with a purpose, they came with a lot of enthusiasm and passion and excitement. I think they understood the historic implications of the day."
Slive said negotiations on the league's TV package — which will go up again with the two new schools — continue.
"We've been talking about that with our TV partners. We're in negotiations, we have been in negotiations now for several months. The negotiations will continue, and we'll be happy to announce the results of those negotiations when we finally finish,'' he said.
The SEC and Big 12 are also dealing with bids concerning the new Champions Bowl sites. Slive said no decisions will be made until late September or early October.
"The process is well under way,'' he said.
UF had some big losses in the first half when DB Josh Evans left the game with a shoulder injury, while LB Jelani Jenkins departed early with a broken thumb. DB Cody Riggs also had a sprained foot, and RB Mike Gillislee was "dinged,'' according to coach Will Muschamp.
UF also had a lot of issues with leg cramps in the 90-degree, heat with OL Chaz Green among those who struggled the most.
Florida suffered through a penalty-plagued opening game and had some horrible moments early Saturday but finished with just three penalties for 21 yards. A 15-yard personal foul on a late hit on the quarterback kept Texas A&M's first drive going, and the drive ended with the game's first touchdown.
Another personal foul in the second quarter gave the Aggies a first-and-goal from the 1. Texas A&M scored the game's second TD on the next play.
"That's a work in progress,'' Muschamp said.
Caleb Sturgis' 51-yard field goal was the seventh of his career of 51 yards or longer. … A crowd of 87,114 fans attended the game — the ninth-largest in Kyle Field history. but the announcer in the press box noted it was the stadium's largest for an SEC game, which drew chuckles since it was the program's first league game. … Saturday was the 11th time Florida has played a game in Texas. … UF won the time of possession battle 35:07 to 24:53.
David Jones, Florida Today