Last night, Ben noted that Nick Saban recently mentioned the possibility of his current school and the flagship university of his home state squaring off in the 2014 season opener in the state of Georgia.
Today, Alabama-West Virginia in two years officially became a reality.
In a press release sent out Thursday evening, it was confirmed that the Mountaineers will square off with the Tide in the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The game will be played in the Georgia Dome on Saturday, Aug. 30. No time has been set, although there’s little doubt the game will be broadcast in prime time.
“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an outstanding event and we look forward to opening the 2014 season in Atlanta,” said Saban (pictured) in a statement. “Gary Stokan and his staff do a great job in hosting this game and the atmosphere in the Georgia Dome has been like a BCS bowl game in our previous experiences there. The exposure for our football players and our program is tremendous and it is a great experience for our fans. This will be the sixth time we have played a non-conference game at a neutral site, and the fourth time at Atlanta.
“I believe that playing an opponent that has the national reputation that West Virginia does, one of the top programs in the country, provides a great challenge for our players and gives us something to look forward to in the offseason. We are privileged at the University of Alabama to be a part of what has become a great tradition in college football with first-class organizations like the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the City of Atlanta.”
Saban grew up in Fairmont, WV, about 20 miles southwest of Morgantown.
The release states that tickets to the 2014 game will be evenly split between the two teams, creating “a true neutral-site game” despite the Georgia Dome’s location in the heart of SEC country.
The 2014 meeting will mark the first time the two schools have faced each other in football.
“Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a great opportunity for our football program and will be an exciting event for our fans,” said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen (not pictured). “Alabama is one of the top teams in college football history, and it will be a tough challenge for us.”
The Tide is 10-8-1 all-time versus Big 12 schools — WVU is moving from the Big East this year — while the Mountaineers are 24-22-2 against SEC teams.
In addition to the 2014 game, the Tide will also face Virginia Tech in the 2013 Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome. There will be a pair of kickoff games this year: Tennessee vs. North Carolina State, Clemson vs. Auburn.
It had been previously been announced that Boise State will play Ole Miss in the second game of the 2014 Chick-fil-A doubleheader.