Auburn, Ala.--Two of the top teams in the first 2016 College Football Playoff rankings, the Auburn Tigers and Washington Huskies, will have an opportunity to face off on the field to open the 2018 season when the SEC and Pac 12 powers head to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 1.
“We are thrilled to welcome Washington and the Pac-12 to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, as well as the opportunity to host Auburn for a third time,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. president and CEO. “As two of the top 20-winningest programs of all time, these teams represent the best in college football. It’s going to be a memorable start to the season and there is no better place to host this than in Atlanta, the capital of college football."
It will be the first-ever meeting between Auburn and Washington in what should be a huge game to open the season for both teams. Currently fifth in the country and undefeated, the Huskies are back on the big stage in the college football world under Coach Chris Petersen.
The game will be the third appearance for Auburn in the annual Labor Day game with the Tigers falling to Clemson 26-19 in 2012 before defeating Louisville 31-24 to open 2015.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game for a third time,” Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn said. “Auburn has a great fan base in Atlanta and we’ve always had a big number of Georgia kids in our program. We appreciate the partnership we’ve had over the years with the great people at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.”
This season Georgia defeated North Carolina in the kickoff game with two games scheduled for 2017. On the Saturday before Labor Day, Alabama will face Florida State before a Monday matchup between Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
The game against Washington will be the first of two straight seasons that Auburn will face a Pac 12 opponent at a neutral site to open the year. The Tigers will have a rematch of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game to open the 2019 season, facing Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., on Aug. 31.
Auburn has also scheduled a home-and-home series with Penn State for 2021-22. The Tigers will travel to State College in 2021 before Penn State returns the favor the following season. Following that Auburn will face Cal in a home-and-home series, traveling to Berkeley in 2023 with the Bears coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2024.