Georgia All Set For Boise State

Georgia and Boise State will meet in Atlanta to open the 2011 college football season, Chick-fil-A bowl president Gary Stokan announced Friday.

The two teams will meet in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3, and will be televised on ABC or ESPN.

"We think we've got our 2011 matchup that is the right matchup," Stokan said. "We got it right. It took some time, but similar to the previous three years in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff where we've had top ranked teams in the game every year, we feel like we've hit upon another Daytona 500 of college football with the University of Georgia playing Boise State."

For Georgia, the game offers an in-state neutral site game against an annual top ranked Boise State team.

"We felt like it was important, that we needed to be on the national stage," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said. "We thought it would bring a level of excitement that we really needed in our program."

Georgia is expecting a payout nearing $1.7 million, while Boise State will receive $1.4 million, Stokan said.

The Georgia Dome seats over 71,000 people, and Georgia fans are expected to fill most of those seats.

Boise State will be given 7,500 tickets and will not face a penalty if any are left unsold, Stokan said.

The rest of the allotted tickets, discounting those reserved for suite owners and local sales, will be given to Georgia. The number is yet to be determined, but Georgia could receive upwards of 50,000 tickets. In dealing with ticket sales, McGarity said his staff would model the allotment after the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville.

"Well, we're going to talk about that actually Monday, as far as our block," McGarity said. "In other words, we already have sort of a model in place with the 40,000 tickets that we have in Jacksonville every year. So we basically have a model in place on how to deal with tickets of this bulk. So we're going to sit down Monday as a staff and fine tune some things and deal with the allocation of 50,000 some odd tickets there."

Boise State, currently ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings, beat Virginia Tech earlier this season in a similar highly touted season opening matchup.

"We're obviously becoming a national brand so this works very well for us," Boise State athletics director Gene Bleymaier said.

There were difficulties in putting the marquee matchup together. Georgia had previously been scheduled to open the 2011 season at Louisville. The two programs had agreed five years ago to play a home and home series in 2011 and 2012, which has since been cancelled.

North Carolina has taken Georgia's place. The two teams will play at Louisville in 2011 and in Chapel Hill in 2012. Louisville will receive a buyout of $600,000, paid by ESPN and the Chick-fil-A bowl.

"While we certainly would have preferred to keep the series with Georgia, we are pleased to open up the season next year at North Carolina and look forward to hosting them at Papa John's Stadium in 2012," said U of L Vice-President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. … "Obviously, we wanted to retain the series as we know our fans have been looking forward to playing them since 2005."

Georgia is close to finalizing a deal with an opponent to replace Louisville to open the 2012 season," McGarity said.

"I don't want to say who that is now, but we should be able to, in the next 14 to 21 days, be able to announce who that opponent is," McGarity said.

Georgia is scheduled to play 13 home games the next two seasons.

Boise State was originally schedule to play at Ole Miss to begin the 2011 campaign. Those two teams have agreed to push back the meeting to 2014, where the matchup will be featured in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

"It's a win-win for everybody," McGarity said.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has opened the college football season since 2008. The game has only featured an SEC-ACC clash to this point. Next season's matchup, with Boise State included, will change that tradition. Georgia's appearance will be it's first game in the Georgia Dome since beating Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chick-fil-A bowl.

"You've got two powerful nationally known football brands," Stokan said. "My belief, led by (quarterback) Aaron Murray, is that Georgia will be nationally ranked next year coming into this game, as will Boise State. That's kind of been our mission when we started the Chick-fil-a kickoff game is to be able to put the game together on the first weekend of college football where we have two national ranked teams playing in a meaningful game in a BCS-type atmosphere in the Georgia Dome to kick off college football."

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