December 19, 2008
Tech to open 2009 season against Alabama in Chick-fil-A College Kickoff
Game to be played in Atlanta's Georgia Dome

ATLANTA – The Chick-fil-A College Kickoff will once again feature two of the nation’s top teams in one of the biggest match-ups of the college football season’s opening weekend.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN today announced that the No. 4 University of Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia Tech Hokies to kick off the 2009 season Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will air nationally in prime time on either ABC or ESPN.

This will mark Alabama’s second straight appearance in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff after the Tide started their 2008 SEC West Championship run in this game by defeating then-No. 9 Clemson 34-10.

“After the great success we had in our inaugural game, we’re thrilled to have two of the country’s top programs again for 2009,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president. “The Chick-fil-A College Kickoff is the Daytona 500 of college football and with our partnership with ESPN and Chick-fil-A, this concept has redefined the official kickoff of college football.”

Tickets will be split evenly between Alabama and Virginia Tech and the game and surrounding events will be managed by the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

“I think we’ve really hit on a terrific formula here,” said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s chief marketing officer. “When you look at having a great host city, a superior football facility and the unmatched fan events around the game, this can really turn into something of a football holiday.”

“Alabama returning to Atlanta to play ACC champion Virginia Tech is another great step in making the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Game a cornerstone event of our ESPN Kickoff Week programming every year,” said Dave Brown, vice president, ESPN programming. “The history and tradition Virginia Tech and Alabama bring to the great college football city of Atlanta is a fabulous way to open the 2009 season in a significant way. We look forward to working with our partners at the Chick-fil-A Bowl to make this an even bigger and better event than last year.”

“Opening the season against Virginia Tech is a great opportunity for our football program and our fans,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “Coach Beamer has built one of the top programs in the country and they won the ACC again this year so it will be a tremendous challenge.”

“We had an outstanding experience in last year’s game in terms of the atmosphere and the way the Chick-fil-A Bowl staff put on a first-class event,” Saban added. “I’ve always been an advocate of playing in games like this that bring national attention to the program. It is an interesting game for our fans and our players, and I know it will again be an outstanding venue.”

“We feel honored to be a part of the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game and to continue the close relationship we have with all the quality folks representing Chick-fil-A,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “Playing a class institution and football program like Alabama is going to be quite a challenge for us, but I know our football team and our fans will be excited to visit Atlanta to open the season.”

The 2008 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff drew a sold-out crowd of 70,097 and was viewed in more than four million households nationwide. The pre-game fan activities were attended by more than 22,000 fans and the event created an economic impact of $29.1 million for Atlanta and Georgia including $1.2 million in direct tax revenues.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

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