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The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an annual college football game played on the opening weekend of the NCAA Division I FBS season in Atlanta, Georgia. The event coincides with Labor Day weekend in the United States. From its inception in 2008 until 2016, the game was held in the Georgia Dome. The Georgia Dome's replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, began hosting the game starting in 2017.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game logo.png
Current logo, used since 2016
StadiumMercedes-Benz Stadium
LocationAtlanta, Georgia
Previous stadiumsGeorgia Dome
Operated2008–present
PayoutUS$1,900,000 per team
Sponsors
Chick-fil-A (2008–present)
2019 matchup
No. 2 Alabama 42, Duke 3
2020 matchup
Florida State vs. West Virginia

HistoryEdit

Organizers intended for the game to become a national spotlight game, on par with the Kickoff Classic held in the Meadowlands from 1983–2002, and the Disneyland Pigskin Classic in the 1990s. In 2008, ESPN's College Gameday broadcast from Downtown Atlanta, while ESPN corporate sponsors and local Atlanta-based companies featured prominent displays at Fanzones in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.[1]

Payout to each team depends on the amount of revenue gained in excess of the Kickoff's $5.5 million budget. In 2008, Clemson and Alabama were both expected to receive more than $2 million.[1]

Series summaryEdit

The first game, known that year as the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, was played on August 30, 2008, the opening Saturday of the 2008 season. Alabama defeated Clemson 34–10.

Alabama returned to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff for the 2009 game, defeating Virginia Tech to begin the 2009 season.

Auburn and UCLA were initially slated to play in 2010, but Auburn officials later backed out of the offer. ABC attempted to replace Auburn with Georgia Tech, but the switch prompted UCLA to opt out entirely because the game would essentially be a home game for the Atlanta-based Yellow Jackets, with no scheduled return trip to Los Angeles.[2][3] Finally, an agreement was reached in which LSU and North Carolina would match up, with the Tigers winning 30-24. The 2010 game also saw the introduction of a trophy awarded to the winner, the Old Leather Helmet.[4]

The 2011 edition was the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff to feature a team that was not a member of the ACC or SEC, the two conferences with tie-ins to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Boise State of the Mountain West Conference, one of the most successful programs from a BCS non-automatic qualifier conference in recent years, defeated Georgia 35–21.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff consisted of two games in 2012. Tennessee defeated NC State 35–21 on Friday night prior to Clemson defeating Auburn 26–19 in the headliner on Saturday. The dual-game idea was first mentioned in the Miami Herald in May 2010, when Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, told the newspaper that there was the possibility of having Alabama face Miami in a rematch of the 1993 Sugar Bowl.[5]

The 2013 edition was a rematch of the 2009 game. Alabama, the two-time defending BCS national champions, once again defeated Virginia Tech, this time by a score of 35–10.

2014 would again feature two games. Ole Miss defeated Boise State 35–13 in a Thursday night game. Alabama would defeat West Virginia 33–23 in the headliner on Saturday afternoon. It marked the first ever meeting between Alabama and West Virginia in any sport.

The 2015 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which moved to CBS that season, returned to a single game with the ACC's Louisville Cardinals taking on the SEC's Auburn Tigers. Auburn defeated Louisville, 31–24.

The 2016 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which moved back to ESPN, featured North Carolina and Georgia, both making their second appearances in the kickoff series. The Bulldogs defeated the Tar Heels 33–24 in the final edition of the game played the Georgia Dome.

The 2017 event was the third doubleheader in the series. Alabama defeated Florida State on Saturday evening by a score of 24–7, serving as the Saturday Night Football season opener. Tennessee defeated Georgia Tech 42–41 in double overtime on Monday evening. The two games were the first in the series to be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Downtown Atlanta.

Game resultsEdit

Season Date Winning team Losing team Attendance
2008 August 30, 2008 24 Alabama Crimson Tide 34 9 Clemson Tigers 10 70,097
2009 September 5, 2009 5 Alabama Crimson Tide 34 7 Virginia Tech Hokies 24 74,954
2010 September 4, 2010 21 LSU Tigers 30 18 North Carolina Tar Heels 24 68,919[6]
2011 September 3, 2011 5 Boise State Broncos 35 19 Georgia Bulldogs 21 73,614
2012 August 31, 2012 Tennessee Volunteers 35 NC State Wolfpack 21 55,529
September 1, 2012 14 Clemson Tigers 26 Auburn Tigers 19 75,211
2013 August 31, 2013 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 35 Virginia Tech Hokies 10 73,114[7]
2014 August 28, 2014 18 Ole Miss Rebels 35 Boise State Broncos 13 32,823
August 30, 2014 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 33 West Virginia Mountaineers 23 70,502
2015 September 5, 2015 6 Auburn Tigers 31 Louisville Cardinals 24 73,927
2016 September 3, 2016 18 Georgia Bulldogs 33 22 North Carolina Tar Heels 24 75,405
2017 September 2, 2017 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 24 3 Florida State Seminoles 7 76,330
September 4, 2017 25 Tennessee Volunteers 42 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 41 2OT 75,107
2018 September 1, 2018 9 Auburn Tigers 21 6 Washington Huskies 16 70,103
2019 August 31, 2019 2 Alabama Crimson Tide 42 Duke Blue Devils 3 71,916[8]

Rankings are from the AP Poll.

Future gamesEdit

RecordsEdit

By teamEdit

Rank Team Apps Record Win %
1 Alabama 6 6–0 1.000
2 Tennessee 2 2–0 1.000
3 LSU 1 1–0 1.000
Ole Miss 1 1–0 1.000
5 Auburn 3 2–1 .667
6 Boise State 2 1–1 .500
Clemson 2 1–1 .500
Georgia 2 1–1 .500
10 Duke 1 0–1 .000
Florida State 1 0–1 .000
Georgia Tech 1 0–1 .000
Louisville 1 0–1 .000
N.C. State 1 0–1 .000
Washington 1 0–1 .000
West Virginia 1 0–1 .000
15 North Carolina 2 0–2 .000
Virginia Tech 2 0–2 .000

By conferenceEdit

Rank Conference Apps Record Win %
1 SEC 15 13–2 .867
2 Mountain West 2 1–1 .500
3 ACC 11 1–10 .100
4 Big 12 1 0–1 .000
Pac-12 1 0–1 .000

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "'Kickoff' aims for college football spotlight". sportsbusinessjournal.com.
  2. ^ "Auburn-UCLA game in 2010 nixed". AL.com.
  3. ^ Nestor. "Auburn A.D. (Jay Jacobs) Is Under Intense Criticism For Ducking UCLA". Bruins Nation.
  4. ^ "A College Football Celebration". Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014.
  5. ^ "College Gridiron 365 – Football Blog – Orlando Sentinel". orlandosentinel.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  6. ^ "LSU Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "Duke vs. Alabama - Game Summary - August 31, 2019". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  9. ^ McMurphy, Brett (July 27, 2016). "Sources: FSU, WVU close to finalizing 2020 game in Atlanta". ESPN. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Butt, Jason (September 19, 2016). "Georgia slated to return to Chick-Fil-A Game in 2020 to face Virginia". The Telegraph. McClatchy. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  11. ^ "Carolina To Face Auburn In 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game". North Carolina Tar Heels. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Richards, George (September 5, 2017). "Miami Hurricanes to renew football rivalry with Nick Saban and Alabama". Miami Herald. McClatchy. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Culpepper, Katie (August 16, 2017). "Report: Louisville, Ole Miss to face off in 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Tucker, Tim (August 21, 2018). "Georgia, Oregon sign deal to play in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  15. ^ "GT to Play Annual Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium". February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  16. ^ Sapakoff, Gene (April 2, 2019). "Clemson, Georgia add two more football games, will play in 2032, 2033". The Post and Courier. Evening Post Industries. Retrieved September 14, 2019.

External linksEdit