2014 Tide To Open Vs. Mountaineers

What do Alabama and West Virginia have in common when it comes to football tradition? Not much. True, the Mountaineers are the home state university of Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban. And that gives a little interest to the announcement that Bama and West Virginia will open the 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. The game is scheduled for August 30 season after next.



Alabama and West Virginia have never played in football. Last year both had relative success with the Crimson Tide winning the national championship and the Mountaineers ending the season nationally ranked at 17th.

Bama is expected to once again challenge for the national championship in 2012 and West Virginia could be ranked among the nation's top ten teams in pre-season.

Tickets to the game will be evenly split between the two teams, creating a true neutral-site game. All tickets to the game will be sold through the university ticket offices. No tickets will be sold through the Chick-fil-A Bowl office.

"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. "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."

"The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an outstanding event and we look forward to opening the 2014 season in Atlanta," said Nick Saban, Alabama head coach. "Gary Stokan and his staff do a great job in hosting this game and the atmosphere in the Georgia Dome has been like a BCS bowl game in our previous experiences there. The exposure for our football players and our program is tremendous and it is a great experience for our fans. This will be the sixth time we have played a non-conference game at a neutral site, and the fourth time at Atlanta."

"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."

"We are always happy to have an opportunity to play in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game," UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore said. "Playing against West Virginia, such a quality opponent, will be a great way to start the 2014 season. Our team and our fans always enjoy the chance to play in the Georgia Dome."

Bama has played in two of the four Kickoff Games with wins over nationally ranked teams -- Virginia Tech in 2008 and Clemson in 2009 -- in those contests. Alabama is also set to re-match Virginia Tech in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Alabama is 10-8-1 all time against teams from the Big 12 with the Tide's most recent match-up ending in a victory over Texas in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game.

West Virginia is 24-22-2 all time against teams from the SEC and defeated Georgia to win the 2006 Sugar Bowl the year it was played in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, site of the game with Alabama.

"Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a great opportunity for our football program and will be an exciting event for our fans," said Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia head coach. "Alabama is one of the top teams in college football history, and it will be a tough challenge for us."

"Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is yet another great way to showcase our football program on a national stage," WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said. "Playing Alabama will match-up two programs with great college football traditions. I have known Nick Saban since my playing days at West Virginia, and I have the utmost respect for him and his program."

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