Kickoff Classic

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The Kickoff Classic was a season-opening college football game played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey from 1983 to 2002.

History[edit]

In 1978, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which operated and scheduled events at Giants Stadium, decided to host an end-of-season bowl game, called the Garden State Bowl. There were four such bowl games held, but attendance was lower than hoped by the NJSEA due to December weather and less attractive teams.[citation needed] Consequently, NJSEA decided to host a "bowl" game in the beginning of the season instead. This would attract more popular teams and ensure better attendance due to more favorable weather conditions.

The first contest, held on August 29, 1983, was the first regular-season college football game to be played in the month of August. The game featured the defending national champions Penn State Nittany Lions and the pre-season Number 1 ranked team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game was not carried by any of the networks broadcasting college football at the time; instead the rights to the game were sold into syndication and the game aired on various local stations throughout the country. (One of these stations, Philadelphia's WKBS, signed off for good right after the game, making the inaugural Kickoff Classic the last program the station carried.)

Eventually there would be twenty Kickoff Classics, many of which were carried by ABC Sports nationally. Participation in the Kickoff Classic allowed teams to play a twelve game regular season. Rule changes by the NCAA regarding season opening 'extra games' brought an end to the series in 2002, as well as similar games, such as the west coast-based Pigskin Classic and the midwest-based Eddie Robinson Classic. In 2008, a new form of kickoff games were born. While not cut from the same mold, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game held its inaugural game in Atlanta, GA in an effort to direct the nation's attention to one site for the start of the college football season.[1]

Game results[edit]

Date Winning Team Losing Team MVP Attendance
August 27, 1983 Nebraska 44 Penn State 6 Turner Gill QB Nebraska 71,123
August 27, 1984 Miami 20 Auburn 18 Bernie Kosar QB Miami 51,131
August 29, 1985 Brigham Young 28 Boston College 14 Robbie Bosco QB Brigham Young 51,227
August 27, 1986 Alabama 16 Ohio State 10 Chris Spielman LB Ohio State 68,296
August 30, 1987 Tennessee 23 Iowa 22 Reggie Cobb RB Tennessee 54,681
August 27, 1988 Nebraska 23 Texas A&M 14 Steve Taylor QB Nebraska 58,172
August 31, 1989 Notre Dame 36 Virginia 13 Tony Rice QB Notre Dame 77,323
August 31, 1990 Southern California 34 Syracuse 16 Todd Marinovich QB Southern California 57,293
August 28, 1991 Penn State 34 Georgia Tech 22 Tony Sacca QB Penn State 77,409
August 29, 1992 North Carolina State 24 Iowa 14 Terry Jordan QB North Carolina State 46,251
August 28, 1993 Florida State 42 Kansas 0 Derrick Brooks LB Florida State 51,734
August 28, 1994 Nebraska 31 West Virginia 0 Tommie Frazier QB Nebraska 58,233
August 27, 1995 Ohio State 38 Boston College 6 Eddie George TB Ohio State 62,711
August 25, 1996 Penn State 24 Southern California 7 Curtis Enis TB Penn State 77,716
August 24, 1997 Syracuse 34 Wisconsin 0 Donovan McNabb QB Syracuse 51,185
August 31, 1998 Florida State 23 Texas A&M 14 Peter Warrick WR Florida State 59,232
August 29, 1999 Miami 23 Ohio State 12 Kenny Kelly QB Miami 73,037
August 27, 2000 Southern California 29 Penn State 5 Sultan McCullough TB Southern California 78,902
August 26, 2001 Georgia Tech 13 Syracuse 7 Kelly Campbell WR Georgia Tech 41,517
August 31, 2002 Notre Dame 22 Maryland 0 Nick Setta PK Notre Dame 72,903

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Source: New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.