Alabama, West Virginia to face off in 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
Alabama and West Virginia, two programs rich with football history, will meet for the first time on the big stage to kick off the 2014 regular season in Atlanta, Ga..

The Crimson Tide and Mountaineers were announced as opponents for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, scheduled for Aug. 30, 2014 in the Georgia Dome. The Chick-fil-A Bowl officials were pleased to announce both programs as contestants in the annual event, particularly considering the current state of not only defending champion Alabama but also West Virginia, which is preparing for its first season in the Big 12.

"Alabama and West Virginia are consistently among the premier teams in the country and we're thrilled to be able to host such a high profile game with representatives from the SEC and the Big 12," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO, in the official release. "This will be an epic blockbuster-type game the nation will anticipate for a long, long time and will continue our tradition of showcasing two top-ranked teams to open the season on Saturday night."

Alabama is also set to compete in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Virginia Tech, a rematch from their Top 10 season-opening showdown in 2009. The defending champions are 10-8-1 all time against Big 12 opponents, the most recent victory being against Texas in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game -- Saban's first title as the Tide's head coach.

"I believe that playing an opponent that has the national reputation that West Virginia does, one of the top programs in the country, provides a great challenge for our players and gives us something to look forward to in the offseason," Saban said. "We are privileged at the University of Alabama to be a part of what has become a great tradition in college football with first-class organizations like the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the City of Atlanta."

For the first time this fall, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff will be a two-day event. Tennessee and N.C. State are scheduled to play Friday night, and Auburn and Clemson will play their annual matchup in the Georgia Dome on Saturday. The SEC has been a part of all Chick-fil-A Kickoff games since 2008; the ACC was absent for the first time in 2011 when Boise State defeated Georgia.

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