ATLANTA (May 25, 2017) – This season will open with a pair of prime time Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games when top-ranked matchups Florida State vs. Alabama and Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech start the year off as the first college football games played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Florida State-Alabama Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 2 and be nationally telecast by ABC, while the Tennessee-Georgia Tech game will be featured in prime time on Monday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“What a way to open the college football season, with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and two top ACC-SEC matchups,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and president. “This will be the biggest opening weekend in perhaps the history of college football.”
The Florida State vs. Alabama matchup will represent five of college football’s last eight national champions, and could be the highest two ranked teams to ever play on the season’s opening weekend. Alabama and Florida State have met four times dating back to 1965 with the most recent meeting (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 holds a 4-0 record. It will be the first time Florida State has opened the season in Atlanta.
In the second matchup, Tennessee and Georgia Tech have met 43 times, with the Volunteers holding a 24-17-2 series lead over the Yellow Jackets. One-time SEC rivals, this year’s meeting will mark the first between the programs in 30 years, when Tennessee defeated Georgia Tech 29-15 in Knoxville during the 1987 season. This will be Tennessee’s second appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first a 2012 win over N.C. State. Georgia Tech will be making its first appearance in the game.
The Georgia Tech-Tennessee game will also honor legendary coach Bobby Dodd and The Dodd Trophy coach of the year award in his name. Dodd played at Tennessee (1928-1930) and coached at Georgia Tech (1931-1966), leading the Yellow Jackets to the program’s 1952 National Championship. The Dodd Trophy is the most coveted college football coach of the year award.
“To have four of the most renowned brands in college football play in our Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will be special,” said Percy Vaughn, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman.
This year’s matchups will mark the 9th and 10th ACC vs. SEC meetings in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with the SEC currently holding a 7-1 advantage over the ACC in those games.
Past Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game teams and winners of The Old Leather Helmet include:
|2008||(9) Clemson vs. (24) Alabama||Alabama 34-10|
|2009||(5) Alabama vs. (7) Virginia Tech||Alabama 34-24|
|2010||(16) LSU vs. (18) North Carolina||LSU 30-24|
|2011||(5) Boise State vs. (19) Georgia||Boise State 35-21|
|2012||(25) NC State vs. Tennessee||Tennessee 35-21|
|2012||(14) Clemson vs. (24) Auburn||Clemson 26-19|
|2013||(1) Alabama vs. Virginia Tech||Alabama 35-10|
|2014||(18) Ole Miss vs. Boise State||Ole Miss 35-13|
|2014||(2) Alabama vs. West Virginia||Alabama 33-23|
|2015||(25) Louisville vs. (6) Auburn||Auburn 31-24|
|2016||(18) Georgia vs. (22) North Carolina||Georgia 33-24|
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.
All tickets are being sold through the university ticket offices. No public tickets will be available through the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl office.
For more information, visit Chick-fil-AKickoffGame.com.
ABOUT THE CHICK-FIL-A KICKOFF GAME
Created in 2008 by Peach Bowl, Inc., the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the preeminent bowl-style, neutral-site game featuring two elite football programs and has been nationally televised on the first Saturday of the college football season since its inception. The game has hosted teams with national rankings of No. 1, 2, 5 (twice), 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18 (twice), 19, 22, 24 (twice) and 25 (twice). The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game boasts an average attendance of 67,645, has been watched on television by 47.4 million viewers, and has distributed $51.9 million in total team payouts. Since its inception in 2008, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game has featured seven national coaches of the year, 16 players who were recipients of national awards during their collegiate careers and a total of 48 first-round NFL Draft picks. For more information, visit www.Chick-fil-AKickoffGame.com.