The Chick-fil-A kickoff game has quickly become a tradition at the start of the college football season. But this season, the game is branching out and becoming a two-game event. All the better right?
Well, maybe not for everyone.
Years ago — during the short reign of King Kiffin of Knoxville — the Chick-fil-A folks tabbed Tennessee to play NC State in their 2012 game. At the time, reps for the game said both programs would be on the rise under then-new coaches Lane Kiffin and Tom O’Brien. Well, the Wolfpack at least won the Belk Bowl last year — I believe the trophy is a bronzed pair of women’s slacks — but the Volunteers have struggled since Kiffin abdicated his Tennessee throne after a single season.
So facing a possible dud game for the first time, the Chick-fil-A crew announced in 2010 that a double-header would be played, adding Auburn and Clemson to the mix. Most assumed that “double-header” meant the games would be played on the same day, but the press release for the AU-CU game said specifically that dates — plural — and times were still to be determined.
Earlier this year we learned that UT-NCSU would be given a Friday slot and Auburn-Clemson handed the traditional Saturday start time. Yesterday, we learned the kickoff times as well:
* Tennessee-NC State, Friday, August 31st at 7:30pm ET on ESPNU
* Auburn-Clemson, Saturday, September 1st at 7:00pm ET on ESPN
That’s a nice win for both sets of Tigers. Not so much for the Vols and ‘Pack, who not only will be kicking off on an ESPN sub-channel, but they’ll be playing opposite Friday night high school games.
In short, Auburn and Clemson will likely get the recruiting boost they were looking for when they signed up for the Chick-fil-A game. Tennessee and NC State might as well be playing on the C-SPAN at 3am.