Preseason Polls Released: Alabama-FSU the Greatest Opener of All Time (GOAT)

August 21, 2017

With the release of this year's final preseason poll, it's official -- the Florida State-Alabama Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the Greatest Opener of All Time (GOAT).

With the release of this year’s final preseason poll, it’s official — the Florida State-Alabama Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the Greatest Opener of All Time (GOAT).

Each projection has ranked Alabama at No. 1 and most have ranked Florida State at No. 3, with the exception of Sports Illustrated, who placed the Seminoles at No. 2. This year’s matchup between Florida State and Alabama will also represent five of college football’s last eight national champions, and the two winning-est programs since 2010.

AP – view poll
No. 1 No. 3
Coaches Poll – View Poll
No. 1 No. 3
ESPN – View Poll
No. 1 No. 3
CBS Sports – View Poll
No. 1 No. 3
Sports Illustrated – View Poll
No. 1 No. 2

Since 1950, the highest-ranked season openers to-date are No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 UCLA in 1986 and No. 1 Nebraska vs. No. 4 Penn State in 1983. Not only will the rankings potentially solidify this game as the GOAT, but there are several other factors adding to the hype of this epic clash of college football powerhouses. This matchup will represent:

  • •Five of college football’s last eight national champions
  • • The two winningest programs in college football since 2010 (Florida State has 78 wins and Alabama has 86 victories)
  • • The two programs with the nation’s longest streak of being ranked in the final AP Top 25 Poll dating back to 2010
  • • Two of the nation’s hottest teams on opening weekend (Alabama has won its past 15 openers, FSU has won its past 6)
  • • Two of the top three highest-ranked recruiting classes each of the past three years (based on 247 Sports rankings)

The Florida State-Alabama showdown will also be the first college football game to be played in the new, state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium and both teams are preseason favorites to potentially meet again in the same venue four months later for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Florida State-Alabama Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will kick off at 8 p.m. ET, Saturday, Sept. 2 and be nationally telecast by ABC. The teams have met four times dating back to 1965, with the most recent meeting in 2007 resulting in a 21-14 Seminole win. The Crimson Tide holds a 2-1-1 series advantage over the Seminoles.

This will be Alabama’s fifth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, where the Crimson Tide currently hold a 4-0 record. It will be the first time Florida State has opened the season in Atlanta. Both teams currently have an impressive streak of consecutive season opening wins with Alabama having won its past 15 season openers, while Florida State has won its past six.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will close out the weekend with another great matchup in prime time on Monday night when Tennessee and Georgia Tech renew an old rivalry for the first time since 1987.

The nation’s longest-running kickoff game, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has now sold out nine of its 12 matchups. The game averages 67,645 – higher than the attendance of 35 bowl games last year – and has an average payout of $4.7 million which is higher than 27 bowl games last year. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 47.4 million viewers tuning in to the series since its inaugural game in 2008.

The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s newest rivalry-style icons. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.