ATLANTA (November 3, 2016) – The No. 5 Washington Huskies and the No. 9 Auburn Tigers will face off in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to start the 2018 season in a rare Pac-12 vs. SEC clash.
The game is set for Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 and will be played in the new, $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium – currently under construction in Atlanta – which will open in 2017 and play host to the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, the 2019 Super Bowl and the 2020 NCAA Final Four.
The 11th installment of the nation’s longest-running kickoff game will feature the Auburn Tigers and the Washington Huskies in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Auburn continues the SEC’s trend of being represented in every Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to-date, while Washington marks the Pac-12’s debut. Auburn is making its third appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, most recently defeating Louisville 31-24 to open the 2015 season.
The game will be nationally telecast by ESPN. Kick time is yet to be announced. All tickets will be sold through the university ticket offices.
“With two teams of this caliber, it really is going to be a major bowl game-type atmosphere and an epic celebration of college football,” said Percy Vaughn, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl chairman.
“We are thrilled to welcome Washington and the Pac-12 to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, as well as the opportunity to host Auburn for a third time,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. president and CEO. “As two of the top 20-winningest programs of all time, these teams represent the best in college football. It’s going to be a memorable start to the season and there is no better place to host this than in Atlanta, the capital of college football.”
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game averages more than 67,000 fans for each game – higher than 33 bowl games from last year – and its team payout averages $4.7 million, which is higher than 24 bowl games last season. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 47 million viewers tuning in to the series since 2008.
“We are excited to compete in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta,” head coach Chris Petersen said. “I know our team will look forward to competing against a great program in what will surely be a thrilling atmosphere inside the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game is well known as a terrific event, and we are honored to participate,” UW Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen said. “The trip will provide an exciting opportunity for our student-athletes to compete on a national stage inside a first-class venue, and should be a fun trip for a great number of Husky faithful.”
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game for a third time,” Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn said. “Auburn has a great fan base in Atlanta and we’ve always had a big number of Georgia kids in our program. We appreciate the partnership we’ve had over the years with the great people at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.”
“We’re excited about the chance to play in what will be a world-class venue and great atmosphere for the 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said. “Our student-athletes love big games on big stages, and playing a quality opponent like Washington in this new stadium at such a prestigious event will be a great experience. Since our goal every year is to get to Atlanta and compete for a championship, I also like the opportunity for our team to play there early in the season. That’s an advantage for us. Atlanta is a great city, and the Auburn Family has a huge presence there. So it’s a great game, venue and location for our student-athletes and our fans.”
The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s iconic rivalry-game trophies. 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.
Past and Future Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game match-ups 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|
|2017||Alabama vs. Florida State|
|2017||Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee|
|2018||Washington vs. Auburn|
ABOUT THE CHICK-FIL-A KICKOFF GAME
Created in 2008 by Peach Bowl, Inc., the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a 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, No. 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. For more information, visit www.Chick-fil-AKickoffGame.com.