Where does Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game go from here?

You kiddin’ me? Georgia and Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game? Surely, they jest.

I swear I heard it being bandied about on one of those sports radio shows the other morning. Just the thought of Georgia and Georgia Tech doing their annual conflict any place but on campus is a serious case of mental illness. In the first place, the whole city of Athens would rise up in rebellion, especially the merchants and the chamber of commerce.
They already miss out on the stimulus they might have if Jacksonville hadn’t monopolized the Florida game. And that one is locked in, as is the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas. Not only that, but the Georgia-Georgia Tech game is on campus. It ain’t budging.

They played once at old Ponce de Leon, the baseball park. Right now, though, let Atlanta Sports Council have its day, and let the city feast on these Alabama and Virginia Tech guests who feed our municipal coffers, and blessings be to Gary Stokan and his industrious confreres. What this amounts to is opening the season with a bowl game, and since the Chick-fil-A crowd can’t crash the BCS monopoly, here’s to the home crowd!

Another issue has risen on the scene, at the suggestion of Grant Teaff, president of the American Football Coaches Association. Dear Grant, a fine Christian gentleman, has proposed that all college teams take time to shake hands before they kick off. In other words, establish good fellowship before the trash-talking and the butt-kicking begins. Teaff’s idea has been supported by the coaches association, but it seems that there are some who want no part of such a show of softness at such a delicate time.

From where I sit, the idea has some Christian merit, but on the other hand, these kids didn’t come to the stadium to promote peace. After the game, yeah. Great idea. Some players shake hands already after the game, but that’s purely individual. I like that. But to do it under orders, like boxers who touch gloves, then are told to come out fighting, that doesn’t sell with me.

In passing, let me remind you of a tragic incident in Grant Teaff’s life. He was coach of a Texas team whose plane crashed on take-off after a game in Ohio. Some of his players were killed. Several passengers were injured, including Teaff himself. And while that has no bearing on this proposal, this might give you an indication of the origin of the suggestion.

Just where the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game goes from here, none of us can be sure. Gary Stokan has seeded ground for a preseason attraction that might take root. There was once a similar game played in New Jersey, a sort of kick-off classic. I don’t recall just what became of that, but you do know that any team that shows up to play in this Kickoff Game leaves Atlanta with a recruiting advantage. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech might keep that in mind.

79 comments Add your comment


September 6th, 2009
10:22 pm

great article as always…

ugay suck it


Sam Clemmons

September 6th, 2009
10:55 pm

When did “christian” become synonymous with kindness??? Genesis 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Mark Richt’s pentacostal pulpit will come to an end unless he adapts to the changing game. Refer to Steve Spurrier please.


September 6th, 2009
10:55 pm

i’m a disinterested observer of College football. I just wanted to say that I read your column as often as I can. As a resident of the city proper, I do wish they’d relocate to the ‘burbs. Also, I see this as a forerunner to a BCS game.


September 6th, 2009
11:37 pm

Here Here Sam!!! Very well said and cited… Phony piety is no more than being smarmy…

By the way, it is time to bring in one of the West Coast or Big 12 heavyweights for a couple of years for that first game… I know that they’d love to make in-roads to SE recruiting areas… And their fans will travel for a first game…

Slick Willard

September 6th, 2009
11:38 pm

Sam, sounds like you have some serious issues. “Lighten up, Leroy.”


September 7th, 2009
12:58 am

Yep, silly to move the Ga-thUGA game to the sterile dome. I like the nice, quaint atmosphere of Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field…

But I like the idea of a kickoff game game in Atlanta. As long as Chick-fil-A is involved, it’ll probably be a top notch event.

It’s good to see other top teams in Atlanta. However, I wish they’ll get other teams than ACC-SEC ones. We already see them at the SEC Championships, GTech games, and the Chick-fil-A bowls. Bring USC, Texas, Ohio State down here!!!


September 7th, 2009
2:25 am

I’d like to see Penn State vs. Oklahoma, or Texas v. Michigan, or even Notre Dame vs. Boise State.


September 7th, 2009
7:03 am

An SEC team or ACC team versus a PAC or even better, BIG 10. It’d be nice to make it more of a national inter-conference game.

Da Coach

September 7th, 2009
7:05 am

Notre Dame football is like elevator music…..it’s eveywhere, and all the time. With it’s own TV contract among the Himalayan perks enjoyed by the program, I see absolutely no need to invite the Irish – and the truculent Charlie Weis (if he indeed survives) – to the Chick-fil-A bowl.


September 7th, 2009
7:31 am

Gary Stokan and his cronies are hurting both Tech and Georgia with these games. The Wreck and the Dawg fans ought to boycott the Chic-Fil-A stores. I have NOT been in one since Stoken and the “Chickin” company decided to invade Tech/Dawg country!

These games hurt their recruiting while helping Alabama, Tennessee and any other teams that Tech and Georgia recruit against!


September 7th, 2009
7:45 am

can the gators come to the dome twice a year???

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

September 7th, 2009
7:51 am

[...] What’s next for Chik-fil-A kickoff game. [AJC] [...]

Mark Zombro

September 7th, 2009
8:09 am


If they want to play the GA Tech vs. UGA game in the Georgia Dome, no problem. Just do it in the years that GA Tech has the game as a home game in Atlanta anyway.

I agree with the comments that the kickoff game is a joke – why are we giving Bama and VA Tech, Clemson, etc., what is essentially a high-profile recruiting event right in our own backyard every year? Makes no sense to me and advances the interests of the Chic-Fil-A corporation and the SEC and ACC conferences over those of GA Tech and UGA. This is Atlanta, Georgia – if anyone is going to get that kind of attention it should be our local schools, not some random selection of teams from elsewhere.

Finally, is this conjectural column about something that is 99.99% guaranteed never to happen is really the most timely thing you can come up with two days after the Bulldogs were embarrassed on national television, Joe Cox was exposed as the talentless, ginger-kid, nightwalker, bum that he is, and Paul Johnson was filmed on the sidelines ingesting an illegal narcotic during the JSU game?

Give it to us straight Furman. We’re big boys. We can handle it.



September 7th, 2009
8:23 am

how about UF vs. an ACC team (Ga Tech) for starters? I’m sick of these “little sisters of the poor” games to start a season…


September 7th, 2009
8:36 am

If Tech and Georgia don’t like it….too bad. I think it’s a great thing to have two quality teams meet for the first game of the season. Schools like Georgia and Tech have absolutely no business playing these small directional schools…..do they want to play football or footsies? Good for Chic-fil-a for bringing quality football early in the season not only to us, but to the nation as well.


September 7th, 2009
8:43 am

still listening to Mayhem in the AM eh? why not just say it?


September 7th, 2009
8:57 am

move the game so it ends before bisher’s bedtime of 7pm.


September 7th, 2009
10:08 am

It’s always great to be able to slip a little Christian bashing into a discussion of college football.


September 7th, 2009
10:15 am

Why does it need to go anywhere? It’s fine like it is. Just mix up the teams so you don’t have the same one playing consecutive years. And try putting a georgia team in the mix every other year. i’d love to see a matchup this year like
miami vs ga
unc vs lsu
ga tech vs fla. the ? is will fla ever agree to play an acc team the first game of the season?


September 7th, 2009
11:04 am

Hey, Sam Clemmons…..Furman’s use of the term Christian in the essay is perfectly fine. It is associated with kind, thoughtful and gentlemanly behavior. The way things USED to be…. If you had ever joined the FCA, you would know this already. As opposed to the common street thugs who often play the gridiron these days. If you think Furman is being disingenous, you don’t know him very well OR his readers.


September 7th, 2009
11:09 am

I agree with Carl except I suggest alternating years between Tech and UGA while requiring a top rated opponent. This way either Tech or UGA would be showcased every year and have a classic match up to start the year off.

Not Disappointed!

September 7th, 2009
11:11 am

I agree with Carl! Mix it up!

Ramblin Wreck!


September 7th, 2009
11:15 am

The Georgia Dome is becoming a second home for us much like Legion Field used to. IF I were a Tech fan or a Ga. fan I would have a big problem with Bama & VT playing in my backyard. Chick-Fil-A is a fine sponsor and the game does so well on TV that it’s not going anywhere, get used to it. Agree with other posts that Ga. or Tech need not play each other, but one or the other could play as host school on alternating years. Just a thought.


September 7th, 2009
11:22 am

Oh don’t play “the whoa is me” card… Sam was right, it is the false piety that people don’t like.. I’m for teams being good sports and showing class and manners before, during, and after the game… Team, fans, and anything attached to the contest should do the same… It does not need to turn into a vanilla ice milk world. Expression does not have to go away; but I have seen Mark Richt teams up-close and personal; their just as emotionally and socially immature as the rest of society. It takes more than than a creed to make a civil society. They have no corner on it… Be a part of the world, not a part of problems of the world..


September 7th, 2009
11:36 am

what is “whoa is me”?


September 7th, 2009
11:49 am

it is an expression of concern or astonishment that one is being suppressed or mistreated in some form or way; and a wish for it to stop….


September 7th, 2009
11:53 am

How about Florida State vs UGA? GO NOLES!


September 7th, 2009
11:57 am

You rubes are missing the point. The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce does not want Ga or GT playing in this game anymore than they wanted GT in the Peach Bowl last year. Local teams would cost Atlanta hotels and other businesses serious $$$.


September 7th, 2009
12:06 pm

I agree, leave the Tech-Georgia game alone. I think next year would be great to see LSU against FSU, as these two teams have a history. The experts think FSU is back and LSU should be as good as they’ve been in recent years.

Paul Johnson's Thought Balloon

September 7th, 2009
12:29 pm

it’s kinda like “Woe, Horsey!”

Chick Fil A

September 7th, 2009
12:32 pm

[...] Fil A Where does Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game go from here?Georgia and Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game? Surely, they jest. I swear I heard it [...]


September 7th, 2009
1:24 pm

Keep playing the game to help other teams recruit but give Tech and UGA a cut of the money. If you sell other teams in our back yard then give some of the money just to be fair.


September 7th, 2009
2:01 pm

RayB, we SHOULD play alternating hosting roles, but we can host the biggest, baddest competition in the country. ATL will still see sellout traveling crowds for it, and the local teams will get the exposure they deserve (with coaches like PJ and Richt running things this state’s recruits will always know they are wanted first by our two big schools). These schools (GT, UGA) should learn new ways to utilize Atlanta as a resource for themselves and not let C-F-A and the ASC hang our bread and butter – the Georgia High School talent base – out there as bait for a seasonal commerce spike. I think if the game got big enough with both Tech and UGA fans then the hotels would still be filled with people (Georgia is still a big enough state that if you want to spend Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta for a game and you’re from Valdosta you stay at least a night, blame it on traffic).

So I say Tech, UGA host Big 12 and Big 10 opponents with big names. Good local exposure, cash for our two schools and our city, and Chick-Fil-A continues to build its empire one televised Southern football game at a time. The Atlanta Sports Council needs to show some loyalty and remember that if GT and UGA fans chose to boycott Chick-fil-A or all of Atlanta’s pro sports teams over this issue they would be up the hooch without a paddle. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Life Coach

September 7th, 2009
2:09 pm

Ban all College Football regular season games played in the GA Dome. They only help ATL and absolutly no help to UGA or GT. If the UGA GT game were moved to the dome it would spell the end of Grant Field (the oldest on campus college stadium). Once held the game would become the property of ATL I live in Dallas Texas and the greed of Jerry Joines has ruined the Cotton Bowl. Jerry has taken all of their games so he can make more money for his city-paid-for stadium. You lose all college Football atmosphere.

Life Coach

September 7th, 2009
2:17 pm

Furthermore, these NFL stadiums are not goood for college football. You miss the campus game atmosphere. How about a domed Gatoe Bowl, or the atmoshere at LSU, UGA, UF, Auburn, TNN plus many other college stadiums. NFL football is great, but college football is clasic. Lets not make college football into a lower division of the NFL.


September 7th, 2009
2:49 pm

Tech tried to get in the game this year. The committee tried to get UCLA to play GT in the game before getting Bama/VT. UCLA turned the organizers down.

How about GT vs Cal? GT vs USC? GT vs Oklahoma? After watching OSU vs Navy…We’d love to have OSU play GT in the game. (LOL)

Since UGA has never played a big name out of conference opponent in Richt’s or even all the way back to the Dooley years…I doubt they will ever play in the game unless it is against Baylor or some such team. And Georgia fans don’t bring up the Cowboys you just lost too…that game was scheduled when the Cowboys won 3 games on a yearly basis. Richt was quoted before the season as regretting playing a quality out of conference opponent other than GT. I guess now we know why!?


September 7th, 2009
4:03 pm

I accept LifeCoach’s point. The greatest thing about college football is the atmosphere. Any game in that dome has huge ramifications for exposure, rankings, recruits, etc. but feels unlike a college game. Maybe it’s time the NCAA realized things are going too far (as they do with fantasy football and videogames) and make a rule that college football is officially an outdoor sport. This would force the ASC (among others) to figure something else out, and maybe in their scramble to reorganize things they can remember to include the “local” fanbases whom they depend on.


September 7th, 2009
4:10 pm

I agree about the game not needing/wanting UGA or GT.


September 7th, 2009
4:12 pm

Bobby Godd has obviously been asleep for a while. UGA owns GT, we own Clempson big time..he obviously is just jealous, and I don’t see a place for it on this blog. His post made ZERO sense.

Johnny DangerDawg

September 7th, 2009
4:13 pm

Furman Bisher’s only a few days late in sharing his opinions of the handshake proposal. He’s months late on sharing his opinion of the suggestion that UGA and GA Tech play in the Dome, a topic discussed by the rest of the AJC Sports team during the summer. Hey Furman, maybe next week you could give us your opinion of Smoltz going to the Red Sox.


September 7th, 2009
4:45 pm

Chick-fil-a Make it an even event in SEC and ACC college towns using the schools stadiums. USC Trojans vs Tennessee split Tickets 1/2 & 1/2, Notre Dame vs GT 1/2 & 1/2, Texas vs UGA 1/2 & 1/2 on that order and the money goes to the schools, the towns, and not just line the ASC peoples pockets. Wouldn’t I be cool to have the Big Moneybags sitting in the seats just like real fans? I know it will not happen because the dael is to make ATL money. It would be nice to have UGA rep., then an ACC rep., then Tech rep., then a SEC rep. to be the home teams against anybody, but UGA and GT need to be in the game every 1-3 or 2-4 years of the game.


September 7th, 2009
5:59 pm

No to UGA/GT in the Dome, but I would love to see it moved from the last game of the season to the first. It would certainly be a great way to start the season. Both teams fresh, no injuries, no excuses.


September 7th, 2009
6:58 pm

Sam Clemmons…If you are going to try to quote the Bible, AT least get it right.


September 7th, 2009
8:10 pm

Bring Notre Dame against anybody! Love’em or hate’em the Irish bring the $$$! Would love to see Alabama and the Irish again like it was in the late 70’s early 80’s!


September 7th, 2009
9:01 pm

I would love to see Notre Dame come here and lose to an SEC team. That would make my day and strengthen their extremely weak schedule.


September 7th, 2009
9:09 pm

I think the match-ups in the game both of the past years have been good. Clemons was a let-down but Alabama/Va Tech was a really great football game and entertaining for anyone who chose to watch – and I’m an Auburn fan saying that. Living in Atlanta, I’m happy to see two out of town teams tee it off at the Dome and spend some money here, as long as they keep the quality match-ups they have the past two years. I think we are likely to continue to see regionally local teams (i.e. within reasonable driving distance) so while I agree with the Pac-10, Big 12, Big 10 suggestions, I suspect it will continue to be SEC vs ACC.

Tokyo jacket

September 7th, 2009
11:11 pm

How about two chicken bowls to start the year, make it a Saturday then Sunday affair. The Chick Fila folks have a tie to the ACC and SEC. Well, how about the SEC plays a Big10/Pac10 Opponent every year and the ACC plays a Pac10/Big10 opponent every year. Maybe throw in a Big East opponent from time to time to make it easier. And, if you wanted to make it even better, UGA and GT should also be locks for every other year. That way neither of us gives any more recruiting ground away to carpet baggers like Saban.

I don’t really like UGA, but you guys are getting $crewed in this the same way we are. Tech and UGA should take a stand and own the damn thing.

Tokyo jacket

September 7th, 2009
11:18 pm

Sam Clemmons, you’re a moron. I don’t want to waste a good football blog going back and forth on the fact that you’re an idiot and teaching theology. I will say though, that the phrase “good Christian man,” and variants of it, are as southern as saying “Djall eetyet?” and “aaight.”


September 8th, 2009
6:28 am

Since it’s only 1 game……..some of you idiots can’t see the forest because you are too BLIND/STUPID. How about Chick-fil-a take there game somewhere else, so you morons will only have to complain about NOT having the game in Atlanta.


September 8th, 2009
6:31 am

And if my memory serves me correctly, wasn’t Ga and Tech both offer to play, but both refused when Chick-fil-a started this????????