There’s mutual interest between the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Georgia about the Bulldogs playing a season-opening football game in Atlanta at some point. But no specific year or opponent has been targeted to make it happen.
“We still have a great level of interest in trying to put Georgia in that Kickoff weekend, and also Georgia Tech,” Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said Monday. “Both [Georgia AD] Damon [Evans] and [Tech AD] Dan Radakovich would like to play in the game, and we’re just trying to continue to work to get a matchup that works for both of them. Obviously not against each other — we’ve already tried that.”
Evans last year rejected a proposal to play the 2011 Georgia-Georgia Tech game at the start of the season in the Georgia Dome. But Evans said a couple of months ago that he wants the Bulldogs to open a season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at some point against a non-conference opponent that doesn’t typically appear on the Bulldogs’ schedule.
Stokan is kicking around the idea of adding a second Kickoff Game in 2012, perhaps pairing a Thursday game with a Saturday game. N.C. State and Tennessee already are committed to meet in one 2012 game, and Stokan recently expressed interest in an Alabama-Miami matchup for the other. However, he said Monday that pairing now appears unlikely.
“I think Miami ultimately is going to do a deal with Notre Dame for ‘12 in Chicago,” he said. That would take Miami out of the picture for a ‘12 game in the Georgia Dome, he said.
What about UGA in 2012? That’s not in the offing, either.
“It looks like it probably will be after ‘12 for us to get Georgia or Georgia Tech in the game,” Stokan said.
Georgia has said it would only consider playing a non-conference game at a neutral site if it has six other games in Athens that particular season. And with a game at Louisville already on the 2012 schedule, Georgia isn’t looking to add another BCS-caliber non-conference opponent that season.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has said he’s interested in a 2012 neutral-site game in Atlanta or Dallas against any of several possible opponents.