Stuart McNair

Alabama-FSU game may be highest ranked teams ever meeting in first week of season

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has good record in kickoff games

College football will celebrate 150 years of competition in 2019, and it may be that one of the records to be noted will involve Alabama’s season-opening game this year. With the near-certainty that Alabama vs. Florida State in Atlanta’s new Mercedes Benz Stadium will match two top five teams, possible No. 1 Bama and No. 2 FSU, it is expected to be a matchup of the two highest-ranked teams ever to meet on opening weekend.

No surprise, then, that nearly two months before that Sept. 2 game, the Peach Bowl has announced that the game is sold out.

Numerous preseason polls show various ranking combinations with both teams receiving number-one nods and neither being ranked lower than number four.

“We’re calling this game the GOAT, the Greatest Opener of All Time, because of the projected rankings, the dominance of these two programs and the fact that this is the toughest ticket I have seen in my 20 years in college football,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. “To possibly have No. 1 against No. 2 in the first game of the season is a credit to the programs that Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have built and their willingness to play this game shows their desire to compete at the highest level.”

ABC will televise the game, which kicks off at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central time).

This will be Alabama’s fifth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, where the Crimson Tide has a 4-0 record. It will be the first time Florida State has opened the season in Atlanta. Both teams have impressive streaks of consecutive season opening wins with Alabama having won its past 15 season openers, while Florida State has won its past six.

This year’s matchup will mark the ninth ACC vs. SEC meeting in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with the SEC holding a 7-1 advantage over the ACC in those games.

The nation’s longest-running kickoff game, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has now sold out nine of its 12 matchups. The game averages 67,645 – higher than the attendance of 35 bowl games last year – and has an average payout of $4.7 million which is higher than 27 bowl games last year. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 47.4 million viewers tuning in to the series since its inaugural game in 2008.


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