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.
In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC. With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.
According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot. While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.
As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”
At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.
Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country. As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.
In a span of just a few hours, Lane Kiffin Tuesday bolstered his first Florida Atlantic roster with a pair of Power Five transfers.
In the middle of the afternoon Tuesday, Auburn confirmed that John Franklin III had decided to transfer from the Tigers in order to be closer to his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home. Not long after, the quarterback-turned-wide receiver revealed on his Instagram account that he is “coming home and looking forward to playing my last collegiate season at FAU under Coach Lane Kiffin.”
Franklin would come to the Owls as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility.
Not even four hours later, Chris Robison took to social media on his private Twitter account to announce that he too will be transferring into Kiffin’s FAU program. The quarterback was dismissed by Oklahoma earlier this month for violating unspecified team rules.
A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2017 recruiting class, Robison was rated as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 29 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 173 recruit on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. As an early enrollee, Robison took part in spring practice and played in the spring game, completing 3-of-5 passes for 49 yards.
Roughly 12 hours after that game, he was arrested for being drunk in public. Because of only what were described as “personal reasons,” Robison wasn’t enrolled in summer classes and didn’t take part in football workouts during the same period.
The Texas Longhorns are a program many are expecting to see take a step forward in the first year with new head coach Tom Herman at the helm, but the Longhorns saw the depth on the offensive line just take a hit on Tuesday. Jean Delance, a former four-star recruit of the Longhorns, has announced via Twitter he is departing the program and has already been granted a release from his scholarship.
Reports out of Austin have suggested Delance was being moved around the offensive line with others competing for a spot on the line. Beyond looking for a fresh start, as Delance explains in his shared statement, the other factors leading to his decision have not been shared.
As for that fresh start, Delance will have to sit out the entire 2017 season if he transfers to another FBS program according to NCAA transfer rules. He would be ruled eligible to play this fall, however, if he transfers to a football program at the FCS level or below.
The Longhorns are already dealing with some offensive line concerns ahead of the start of the 2017 season. Elijah Rodriguez , a projected starter according to My San Antonio, will be missing some time due to an ankle issue that continues to linger.
Colorado and Northwestern have lined up a future home-and-home series for those planning ahead. The two schools announced a home-and-home series that will be played in 2025 and 2026, with each game being played on home campuses. None of that neutral field nonsense here!
Northwestern of the Big Ten will host Colorado of the Pac-12 on September 19, 2026. The Wildcats will make the trip to Boulder, Colorado the following season on September 11, 2027. The two schools have faced each other twice before, with Northwestern securing a 35-11 victory in 1951 and Colorado blowing out the Wildcats by a score of 55-7 in 1978. Each team won a game on their home field.
“This will be a great series for several reasons,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a released statement. “Not only is it a quality match-up between two great academic and Pac-12 and Big Ten institutions, it’s important for us to get to that part of the country and the Chicago area for our alumni we have there.”
You may remember a few years back, before the Big Ten expanded to 14 members and both conferences had 12 members, the Pac-12 backed out of an arrangement for a full conference vs. conference scheduling agreement with the Big Ten. That would have been fun to watch, similar to the various conference vs. conference series in college basketball, so any time we can get a Big Ten and Pac-12 team on the same field is to be praised.
As a Big Ten member, Northwestern is required to schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent. Northwestern has the power conference scheduling commitment fulfilled in 2017 with Duke, 2018 (Duke, Notre Dame), 2019 (at Stanford), 2021 (at Duke), 2022 (Duke), 2023 (at Duke), 2024 (Duke), 2026 (Colorado), and now in 2027 (at Colorado).
The Pac-12 has no similar scheduling requirement for Colorado.