Rumored to be in the works for months, the teams that will fill out what’s fast becoming a highly-anticipated season-opening tradition have officially been identified.
It was announced Thursday afternoon that, as speculated, Louisville will face Auburn in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The game, which will mark the eighth year of the kickoff game, will be played Saturday, Sept. 5, in the Georgia Dome.
Auburn has previously appeared in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a 26-19 loss to Clemson in 2012.
That 2015 Cardinals-Tigers game will mark just the second meeting between the two football programs, with the first coming in 1974 (16-3, AU).
“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has an outstanding tradition of putting together great match-ups, and facing Auburn in this type of event is great for our program and university,” UofL head coach Charlie Strong said in a statement. “We look forward to opening the 2015 season against a great SEC opponent like Auburn. I’m very excited for our fans that will get the opportunity to be a part of a great game and an exciting atmosphere. The exposure our football players and our program will get from a match-up like this is tremendous as we continue to build this program, and it is going to be a great experience for our fans.”
This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will pit Alabama against Virginia Tech.
Next year’s slate will, like 2012, feature two kickoff games: Ole Miss-Boise State, Alabama-West Virginia.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah