By Ole Miss Media Relations
ATLANTA – Nationally ranked Boise State will face SEC’s Ole Miss to begin the 2014 college football season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN officials announced today.
The game was originally scheduled as an Ole Miss home game in 2011; however, the appeal of the match-up drew the eye of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game for its open spot in 2014. Ole Miss has replaced Boise State with BYU on the same date in 2011.
Currently ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings, the Broncos will test themselves against Ole Miss, a representative from the Southeastern Conference’s very strong Western Division. Originally slated as the 2011 opener in Oxford, the teams are now set to play August 28, 2014 at the Georgia Dome, and will not only lead off an event-filled Chick-fil-A Kickoff Weekend, but also officially begin the college football season.
This will mark the first meeting all-time between the two programs and the game is expected to air nationally in prime time on ESPN or ABC.
“This is exactly the type of high profile, BCS-style match-up we look for in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “To be able to open the 2014 season with two nationally relevant football brands shows what this game has become in just a few short years.”
The game and its surrounding events will be managed by the Chick-fil-A Bowl in partnership with ESPN. Ancillary events included in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game weekend include Fan Nights at local Atlanta attractions, a Kickoff Cook-Off tailgate experience, individual team tailgate parties and an indoor FanZone event.
“When we were approached about moving the Boise State game to the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game weekend, we were excited about the national exposure this would create for our program. In addition, neutral-site season openers create a unique level of excitement and anticipation for our team and fans,” said Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone. “Moving that game also created the opportunity to open our 2011 with tradition-rich BYU.”
Boise State is the nation’s winningest team since 1999 and is aiming for its third undefeated season in the past five years. The Broncos are currently ranked No. 3 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches’ Poll and No. 4 in the BCS.
Ole Miss has won three national championships and six SEC championships. The Rebels have 619 all-time wins, including 21 bowl game victories in 33 appearances. Head coach Houston Nutt, who was the head coach at Boise State in 1997, has coached 22 players from Ole Miss that have gone on to the NFL.
Billed as the “Daytona 500 of College Football,” the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game matches top-tier programs in a BCS-style game to open every college football season.
The 2010 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game featured two top-20 teams, LSU and North Carolina, on Sept. 4. LSU held off UNC to win 30-24 in a game that came down to the final play. The game aired nationally on ABC and earned the highest ratings of opening weekend.
Alabama’s victories in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game over Clemson in 2008 and Virginia Tech in 2009 helped the Crimson Tide soar to No. 1 in the national polls, win a national championship and helped earn Mark Ingram the Heisman Trophy.