Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
|Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game|
|Payout||US$1,900,000 per team|
|Auburn vs. Louisville (31–24)|
|Georgia vs. North Carolina (September 3)|
Organizers intend 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. Led by Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s chief marketing officer, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff wants to become the centerpiece of ESPN's Kickoff Week; 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.
Robinson intends for the game to become the headliner of a three-day football weekend in Atlanta, beginning with a college game at the Georgia Dome on the opening Thursday of the season, followed by a high-profile high school game in Atlanta on Friday night, and a concert on Saturday along with FanZone and an A-list game that night. While the first three games have been ACC-SEC contests, Robinson hopes to make the game a national affair, by offering "national brand-name" teams, such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas, the opportunity to participate.
Alabama returned to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff for the 2009 game, defeating Virginia Tech to start the 2009 season which later ended with Alabama being undefeated and winning the 2009 BCS National Championship.
Auburn and UCLA were contacted about playing in the Georgia Dome in 2010, but Auburn backed out of the offer. ABC then attempted to substitute Georgia Tech for the Tigers, but UCLA opted out because the game would essentially be a home game for the Atlanta-based Yellow Jackets, with no return trip to Los Angeles. Finally, an agreement was reached with North Carolina and LSU to face off in the 2010 game. The 2010 game also saw the introduction of a trophy awarded to the winner, the Old Leather Helmet.
The 2011 edition was the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff to feature a team that was not a member of the SEC or ACC, the two conferences that provided teams to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the end of each football season at the same location. Boise State, a team from the Mountain West Conference that had one of the best teams from a "non-BCS AQ" conference in recent years, defeated Georgia 35–21.
The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff consisted of two games in 2012; Tennessee defeated N.C. 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 the Alabama Crimson Tide face the Miami Hurricanes in a rematch of the 1993 Sugar Bowl.
The 2013 game was a rematch of the 2009 game. Alabama, which had won two of the last three BCS National Championship games, once again defeated Virginia Tech, this time with 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 in a Saturday afternoon game. It marked the first ever meeting between Alabama and West Virginia in any sport.
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
Rankings are from the AP Poll.
- 2016 – Georgia vs. North Carolina
- 2017 – Alabama vs. Florida State (Saturday Game) 
- 2017 – Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (Monday Game) 
- "‘Kickoff’ aims for college football spotlight". sportsbusinessjournal.com.
- "Auburn-UCLA game in 2010 nixed". AL.com.
- Nestor. "Auburn A.D. (Jay Jacobs) Is Under Intense Criticism For Ducking UCLA". Bruins Nation.
- "A College Football Celebration". Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
- "College Gridiron 365 – Football Blog – Orlando Sentinel". orlandosentinel.com.
- "LSU Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- "Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Box Score". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- "Carolina To Face Georgia in 2016 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game". GoHeels.com.
- "Alabama, Florida State to Open 2017 Season in Atlanta". FBSchedules.com.
- "Tech-Tennessee in Chick-fil-A Kickoff nearing completion". ajc.com.